Salas of Gems Television
Hey Whore, how's
the whoring? According to this week's Quote Whore:
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!"
Randy Shandis Enterprises. All rights fucking reserved.
"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.