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Overall Rating
3.05

Awesome: 18.07%
Worth A Look: 20.48%
Average32.53%
Pretty Bad: 6.02%
Total Crap: 22.89%

9 reviews, 29 user ratings


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by Chris Parry

"The longest acting demonstration in history."
3 stars

This entire movie is like a bunch of Sean Penn's friends standing around applauding as he demonstrates exactly how a real actor employs his talent. And for as long as that's enough to intrique you, this is a great film. But once you've seen the range and internally applauded at how the guy could outact Nic Cage a billion times over, what you're left with is a long long long mess of a film.

So maybe the play was an American classic. So maybe the cast is up and down Oscar/Emmy heavy. So maybe it started with a zoom and paid no heed to the usual taboos.

It still got boring and dragged on forever.

Maybe it delved into the whole LA/showbiz/drugs/booze/reckless sex thing like no other film.

It still shitted me off.

Why? Because it's indulgent to a heinous degree. An hour too long, the characters are caricatures, and Chazz Palmintieri takes himself way too seriously.

This is the film that just wouldn't end. It was like Penn got on a roll and nobody had the nerve to say "uhh, Sean, everybody's gone home. It's over." A serious case of the same malaise that turned Thin Red Line from auteur classic to neverending story.

Shining lights of the film? Meg Ryan (awesome - why doesn't she do more roles like this that allow her to actually act and not just perform?), Anna Paquin (underplaying it well to everyone else's severe overplay), Gary Shandling (is he ever not worth watching?), Robin Wright Penn (an actress, pure and simple), Kevin Spacey (ultra-cool) and Sean Penn (he is to 90's acting what Jimmy Dean was to the 50's - method-o-rama).

By Gods, that's the entire cast of the film minus Pamintieri! What does that tell you? It tells me Chazz needs to stick to mob guy roles.

To quote Penn in an all too true quote to Chazz's character: "You're no actor. You're background. You're a prop. You're location. You're atmosphere. They roll you out when they want a cheesy mob guy. You're no actor." Lot's to love, but an awful lot to not love. More's the pity.

link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=802&reviewer=1
originally posted: 03/20/99 17:54:11
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User Comments

5/29/16 Sheller Shit review. Great talky type of movie, good examination of psychosis and neurosis 4 stars
1/10/16 Caroline Winter Unbearable. Insufferable and full of itself. 1 stars
4/30/14 Mr Right Efficiency tip: watch first 15 min & last 15; you'll get full value + save yourself 100 min 2 stars
8/14/13 PAUL SHORTT MORBID, SORDID, MEAN-SPIRITED DRAMA, DESPITE A GOOD CAST 2 stars
7/19/12 Luigi Great film, worthless review 5 stars
3/21/08 Ozan My favorite play & movie ever; a masterpiece completely misunderstood, like all genius is. 5 stars
7/02/07 fools♫gold What sarcasm? 5 stars
3/09/06 JLZ Total crap, indeed. 1 stars
11/17/04 psycho black dwarf A well-written, if not well-crafted "get over yourself" movie. 4 stars
5/11/04 Kooler Ugh--the kind of screenwriting hollywood thinks is intelligent and edgy. An embarrassment. 2 stars
6/11/03 Hottie okay 3 stars
4/01/03 Jack Sommersby Here, here, Charles! 1 stars
11/25/02 Charles Tatum Odious garbage that made me want a shower 1 stars
8/19/02 Mike Brilliant 5 stars
10/14/00 comeasur a reflection of the sickness in modern society. not a surprise that it is set hollywood. 4 stars
10/08/00 matthew nice? no. a tour de force for actors, brilliant, even meg ryan was 5 stars
8/08/00 Aron Tym Anderson An absolutely brilliant film, for those that can recognize one. 5 stars
3/11/00 JonnyAngel I can't explain but it's become a cult favorite of my cult 5 stars
1/08/00 seldom scene I was waiting for something to happen-This would make a better play than movie 3 stars
9/16/99 Ratso I thought this was a documentary on Sean Penn. Ooops. 1 stars
8/24/99 mard if you like coke and "fuck" this movie is for you otherwise who cares about these people? 2 stars
2/18/99 Derek Widely misunderstood movie. Great portrait of failure to connect w/ others in modern world 5 stars
2/15/99 emma mindblowing cast, mindnumbing movie 2 stars
2/01/99 Bridgette more like 3 1/2 stars, but spacey is wonderful 4 stars
1/22/99 Jeff good--love spacy--who know Meg Ryan was such a hottie as a coke head stripper?? 4 stars
1/12/99 Doobie Boy I was looking forward to this film, but it wasn't what I hoped. 3 stars
1/09/99 crc great cast (except ryan), wasteful, boring film. Long, dull-get ready to walk out early 1 stars
1/08/99 Movie Geezer Pathetic waste of time and talent. As bad a film as I have ever seen. 1 stars
12/30/98 The Dude Fucking great movie , Fucking great cast and it has Garry Shandling. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  25-Dec-1998

UK
  N/A

Australia
  11-Mar-1999


Directed by
  Anthony Drazan

Written by
  David Rabe

Cast
  Sean Penn
  Robin Wright Penn
  Kevin Spacey
  Chazz Palminteri
  Meg Ryan
  Garry Shandling



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