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Overall Rating

Awesome: 19.64%
Worth A Look: 10.71%
Average: 3.57%
Pretty Bad: 28.57%
Total Crap37.5%

3 reviews, 38 user ratings

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Cremaster 3
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by The Ultimate Dancing Machine

"Like a kick in the old cremaster"
2 stars

I have just spent three hours looking at phallic symbols and I am not happy about this. CREMASTER 3 is the last film to be released in Matthew Barney's five-part epic series. You know you're dealing with high-concept filmmaking when they shoot the episodes out of order, right?

A man walks around a skyscraper. A half-dozen cars crash into one another, demolition-derby style, in the lobby downstairs. The man fills an elevator with mud. A woman smashes potatoes with her shoes. A bartender makes a gigantic mess in the bar while trying to serve drinks. Horses run around a racetrack. Giant streamers fly out of the windows of the phallic-symbol skyscraper. Dancing girls show up. The hardcore band Agnostic Front performs. (I swear I'm not making this up.) The end credits reveal that a certain actor played the role of "Gary Gilmore"--as in the infamous '70s spree-killer, I presume--and I'm not embarrassed to admit that I have no idea which character that was supposed to be in the film. Did I mention there's no dialogue?

I'm sure Matthew Barney is a talented man, but I'm also sure he shouldn't be making films. He does have an eye for color and composition. He's capable of "striking" imagery--but how hard is it to be striking when you're splashing primary colors all over the place? This film is unrelentingly garish and, in the aesthetic sense of the term, tasteless--it's a Jeff Koons installation come to life. It's also intellectually empty, just a lot of softboiled "transgression"; Barney seems to get a kick out of smashing and/or making an ungodly mess out of expensive objects. (During a lot of scenes, all I could think about was how much time it must have taken to clean up the set afterward.) Despite the profusion of all those goddamn phallic symbols all over the place, CREMASTER 3 is at bottom just your average psychosexual postmodern bullshit. This kind of pseudo-Freudianism was a bad joke fifty years ago.

Some people are praising this movie as a bold exploration of gender identity. You could say the same for the Village People.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 05/19/03 12:39:45
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

7/12/09 Jared Kreiner The most well known chapter of the Cremaster cycle. Sadly, mostly Guggenheim photage. 2 stars
5/16/06 Hu Gives modern art a bad name 1 stars
8/30/05 Nick Kraemer interesting. makes the guggenheim that much better. 4 stars
11/26/04 K R Not even woth of comying it!!! 1 stars
2/16/04 plounger i hated it at first but i can't shake the imagery. i wish i could see it again. 5 stars
2/13/04 Jason Heindl Not quite as good as Cremasters 2 or 5, but still amazing 5 stars
2/06/04 Rose visual vomitus--pretention painted in PUKE! 1 stars
1/07/04 Parma Violets Oh dear, did someone shake Jack's crib? 2 stars
11/22/03 jack Cremasters suck hairy monkey balls. so does Graham. made me poke out my eyes and eat them. 1 stars
11/22/03 steve it made me feel like i was watching really scary ass porn. I feel dirty. 5 stars for fucked 1 stars
11/21/03 Graham First two hours: eminently sucky. Last hour: rocked. Watch Cremasters 1&2 instead. 3 stars
11/15/03 peter griffen this piece of crap sucked. there is no joke, this made angel sanctuary seem ethical 1 stars
11/15/03 Allen what a crap-tastic film. i would have more fun watching monkeys masterbate 1 stars
11/15/03 sally steve mobia is a crackbaby. the movie made me want to poke out my eyes. share some crack 1 stars
11/08/03 Cracka Jack Ted sucks... oh yeah and so does the movie. Both awful. Makes me want to vomit. 1 stars
11/08/03 bill nye why? 1 stars
10/20/03 Magnus Sticking feathers up your but does not make you a chicken 2 stars
8/27/03 joel j. dahl it was beautiful to watch, and to listen to, and to me it seemed like watching dali paint. 4 stars
7/27/03 Jack Talented imagery does not win over the director's immaturity 2 stars
6/19/03 Ted At first I didn't like it, but it grew on me, and now I want to own it. 4 stars
6/07/03 Steve Mobia The best most profound visual work I've seen in years 5 stars
5/31/03 Heather Lovely visuals but has absolutely no meaning or worth, it's trash 1 stars
5/28/03 Eric It's about the visual language man 5 stars
5/28/03 Artist Freak So what's wrong with an occasional film series that IS art for arts sake, Chris? 4 stars
5/28/03 Astra Baxley I loved it! I'm going to get tanked before I go see the next cycle though... 5 stars
5/03/03 Renita Jao Beautiful 5 stars
4/27/03 Bluto McBlurt just because it's different, doesn't mean it's good. Or even average. Or even watchable. 1 stars
4/12/03 Linda many layers, filled with allegory, myth, look up the freemasons-intriguing connection 5 stars
4/06/03 john ted reflection of current culture 1 stars
4/05/03 Michael - not a black turtleneck wearing art student. Do yourself a favor and don't be narrow; it's different, challenging and worth some time. 4 stars
3/31/03 Michael Marston Make this the permanent exhibit at the Guggenheim and build another museum 5 stars
3/30/03 Dazza The exhibition at the Guggenheim is even worse 1 stars
3/29/03 Enrique Martinez Loved it, would like to write more but this won't allow me 5 stars
3/20/03 Patty just saw this at the Guggenheim, interesting and different, plus it had NYXHC in it! 5 stars
3/13/03 Eric Why is everyone so pissed at this guy? Who cares , at lest its something new for a change. 5 stars
3/09/03 Mary Anyone who is an art student will love this movie...or at least pretend to. It sucks! 1 stars
2/24/03 Mims Wright Everything comes together at Guggenheim 4 stars
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  25-Apr-2003 (NR)



Directed by
  Matthew Barney

Written by
  Matthew Barney

  Richard Serra
  Matthew Barney
  Aimee Mullins

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