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Hey Whore, how's the whoring? According to this week's Quote Whore:

Flintstones Viva Rock Vegas is "Hysertically Funny! You will love it! The Flintstones will rock your world!"

I Dreamed of Africa is "The most beautiful and moving film of this year!"

David Feldman - Life's Imponderables

Blue Velvet on DVD. The only flick worth having on DVD.

The Blacks - Just Like Home
Servotron- Spare Parts

Big Empire

Post-it Theater

Las Vegas

The Gift ElectroniquÈ

Big Empire Buddies


©2000 by Randy Shandis Enterprises. All rights fucking reserved.

This week:


Filthy says:
"Perfect for the bethhouses!"


"Gladiator" is one fine fucking gladiator movie, probably the best gladiator movie I ever saw. I even liked it more than the ones I watched while I was just a teen and still trying to figure out if I liked boys or girls. Russell Crowe is a hell of a lot better looking than Steve Reeves. Not that this would have changed my sexual orientation, of course.

This flick looks like it cost about a billion dollars. It's amazing what a hundred million dollars can do for a Hollywood flick when it's not wasted on people going to Mars in phony rocketships. In contrast to the earlier Steve Reeves gladiator flicks, none of the soldiers here wear Timex watches, and you won't find any tire tracks on the roads. The problem is, though, that no matter how fancy they dress this sucker up, it's still a gladiator flick; a movie about men beating the shit out of each other while half-naked.

Russell Crowe is Maximus, a man with an obvious Roman name and oozing more fucking testosterone than Dirty Harry. Maximus is a general in Marcus Aurelius's (Richard Harris, not playing a man called Horse) army, and Marcus knows that his only son is a conniving little pussy. His son is the unfortunately named Commodus, played to creepy sinister effect by Joaquin Phoenix.

When Phoenix learns of his father's plans, he kills him and sentences Crowe to death. Crowe escapes death only to be enslaved and sold to the film's most gay character, Oliver Reed's Proximo. Reed trains Crowe to be a gladiator.

Eventually, Crowe has a match watched by Phoenix. Crowe is such a crowd-pleaser that after he wins against impossible odds Phoenix can't kill him. To do so would endanger his already precarious relationship with his loyal subjects.

As Crowe's popularity rises, Phoenix's declines until Phoenix is determined to destroy his enemy. Meanwhile, Crowe schemes with Connie Nielsen, Phoenix's sister and his own ex-lover, to overthrow Phoenix and reinstate a democracy.

So, "Gladiator" is about an underdog loved by the common man and who fights to give the government back to the people. That's a pretty fucking solid idea to hang a bunch of cool shit off of. And "Gladiator" succeeds most fo the time. It doesn't preach and it mostly recognizes you're there to see a stupid popcorn movie. It's a fucking bloodbath of brawls and swords and beheadings.

Director Ridley Scott's moslty wants to film a bunch of fights and use the story to tie them together. It's like a porno in that sense: fucking, talking, sucking, talking, fucking, orgy, hot lesbo action, talking. Except, here the talking scenes make sense and follow a real-live plot, and the preferred fucking is replaced by the less-appealing blood-lettings.

"Gladiator" is a fucking feast for the eyes. Everything looks so expensive you know they could have fed millions of those bloated African kids with the money they spent. They've rebuilt massive amounts of old Rome and did a pretty good job, except their Collosseum looks like it holds about 5,000, not 100,000. The flick is unbelievably well-edited and the special effects don't stick out like they did in, say, "Jason and the Argonauts."

The actors do a fine job. I would have liked to have seen more chicks, but Scott didn't even bother making the one in the movie naked. He also did a ham-fisted job of the love affair Crowe is supposed to have with her. A few smoldering looks do not convince a man of Filthy's stature. I swear, if I ran the God-damn movie rating business, I wouldn't give any shit an "R" unless we saw firm tits and at least one good sex scene. This movie would have been a Goddamn "G".

Russell Crowe doesn't have to do a damn thing but act extremely macho and he does it like nobody else could. Like I said earlier, there's no doubt this guy ain't a gay gladiator and that'll make a few people cry into their pillows tonight. He never has to smile, and I think there might be one cheesy scene where he cries, but the rest of the time he's just brooding and swinging big swords. The Australian accent fades in and out, but since the good parts of the movie are hardly about people talking, I didn't really give a flying fuck.

Joaquin Phoenix is so skin-crawlingly creepy in this movie I keep thinking I see him in the alley behind my apartment. I figure bastard's a creep in real life. He must be, or else how could he nail this role so perfectly. He's just effeminate enough, just brooding enough, just incestuous enough, and just slippery enough to make his villain effectively ooky. I imagine on paper the role he plays was a lame cartoon bad guy from the Hollywood playbook, but Phoenix fills the character with so much evil he becomes fun to watch. In fact, most of the actors and director Ridley Scott rise above some dialog gooey and cheesy enough to go on ballpark nachos.

"Gladiator" is two-and-a-half hours long. That's way too fucking long. If it were two hours, they could have gotten rid of a lot of the blabbering and cut straight to the fights. While it has a decent plot, it occasionally forgets that it's just a fucking popcorn movie. I went to see heads cut off, balls squeezed, chariots overturned, and naked chicks writhing in oil. I only needed enough plot to keep the shit moving, not massive stretches of boring dialog to help me understand which senators were good and which were bad. Please note, I had to rent "Pump and Lube" a wonderful XXX feature starring Kitty Ample to get the oily ladies.

The other problem with this flick is that it's a fucking gladiator movie. That's a pretty limited genre, and there is only so many ways a man can have his head chopped off before it gets a bit old. Okay, they add tigers once, chariots once, archers, and all this other shit, but I saw so much blood and all I could think is, "Let's try something else now. Something besides a sword fight or another boring scene of a rich fuck talking to another rich fuck, or a bunch of noble gladiators eating." And in all its efforts to be an epic, it fails because it follows the obvious Hollywood plot of the reluctant hero. He doesn't want to do this, but he must for the people. And some of the plot points are clunky, like Joaquin Phoenix being a total sissy with a chubby belly, but the movie squeezes in an out-of-context scene of him as a great swordsman. So, guess how Crowe and Phoenix duel at the end. With their wieners!

"Gladiator" gets my highest rating for a gladiator movie, three fingers. If there's a director's cut out there that looks like Bob Guccione's "Caligula" I might boost it to four.

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