Archives Ratings Mrs. Filthy Gooden Worsted


Jim Ferguson of Dish Network:

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

The Little Vampire is "A halloween movie for kids and their parents! A great time!"

Bedazzled is "a hilarious journey. Harold Ramis does it again!"

In Lucky Numbers "Travolta and Kudrow wow! What a team!"

David Halberstam
- The Summer of 49

Night of the Hunter

Neil Hamburger -
Great Phone Calls


Big Empire

Post-it Theater

Las Vegas

The Gift ElectroniquÈ

Big Empire Buddies

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

This week:

Pay it Forward

Filthy says:
"Bend over: Hollywood wants to teach us something."


There's only one thing worse than having my prostate squeezed by barbecue tongs, and that is having those pricks in Los Angeles presume to tell me how to live my life. Pay It Forward is a self-satisfied Hollywood corn cob up our asses, a movie that doesn't even try to entertain because it's too fucking busy congratulating itself. There's nothing more offensive and repulsive than Hollywood deciding a couple of times a year that they will be our moral compass and explain to us what goodness is. My God, there's more goodness in the boils on my ass than in their entire industry.

It's Hollywood's test, really. How fucking stupid are we? How willing are we to let the hypocritical assholes at Warner Brothers profit by telling us to be selfless, caring people? All the sudden Warner Brothers thinks it's Jesus, but a filthy fucking rich Jesus who only has to preach, not do.

Haley Joel Osment (overacting again) is an eleven-year old with absolutely no personality who takes his Social Studies teacher's (Kevin Spacey) challenge to change the world seriously. He comes up with the "Pay It Forward" plan, where each person is supposed to do three big favors for three other people who then must do three favors for others. He starts by helping a junkie bum. Then he tries hooking up his drunk mom, Helen Hunt, with his teacher, who has Academy-Award-Best-Actor-like burns across his face. Finally, he tries to help a classmate who is getting bullied.

Because of Spacey's Oscar-buzz burn marks and Hunt's history of heavy boozing, their relationship is tentative. The relationship is put through all sorts of screenwriting hoops. Spacey's never had sex, Spacey likes his routine (mostly because him saying so gives his character a chance to make a sappy speech at the end), Hunt's cardboard-flat stereotype of a white-trash husband returns just long enough to give the story a beat. Meanwhile, the bum conveniently stumbles upon a woman about to jump from a bridge, and saves her and other "Pay it Forward" gestures are occurring elsewhere across the country. It's a movement! It's a fucking joke!

The biggest problem with this horseshit is Warner Brothers' motive. They don't believe what's on the screen, but they expect us to because they think we're a bunch of maudlin, stupid bumpkins who willingly eat up their shit like my dog eats shit. While the movie is supposed to move us to effect change, I haven't heard a single fucking favor that the filmmakers have "paid forward", except for Spacey. In an interview, he said making the movie was his way of "paying it forward," and the dick wasn't joking.

Oh, I see, us little people are supposed to go out and actually do good deeds, but Hollywood's elite are allowed to substitute getting paid to make crappy movies. Spacey's full of shit. He's not doing this movie for any reason other than to win another little gold statue to cram up his ass. Meanwhile, Warner Brothers executives are creaming their jeans every time a newspaper article reports about real people doing what the movie proposes. Why? Not because it makes the world a better place, but because it's free advertising and their fucking movie will make more money.

This whole air of shit-eating self-satisfaction overflows onto the screen. It's not a story so much as a string of preachy monologues tied together with plot contrivances that wouldn't make it out of a junior-college screenwriting class. It's all mechanical, not natural, one of those movies where you can feel the director and writer pushing the "Plot Point" button on their giant Script-o-Tron 2000 machine to get to the next bit of preaching.

Two perfect examples are the return of Hunt's husband and Osment's death. It's telegraphed early on that Jon Bon Jovi's (once again completely bland) drunk husband character will return to Hunt, and he does, right on schedule. It's gimmicky, lazy writing used to disrupt the relationship between Hunt and Spacey and give Spacey an opportunity to make a long, whiny speech about being hurt. Then, presto!, as soon as Bon Jovi's not needed by the story, he's disposed of. None of the messiness of real life here!

Osment's character is killed at the end, in a brutally awkward sequence where the movie's stories are all neatly resolved. Why does he die? Well, there's no reason other than to give the movie a chance to crank up the maudlin. Killing a kid is the lazy cinema's equivalent of crack cocaine: easy, cheap and dirty.

Director Mimi Leder and writer Leslie Dixon do a pretty good job keeping the movie from getting too sappy. They root it in working-class Las Vegas and make the characters bitter enough to keep the story idea's basic sappiness at bay... until the end.

Rather than wait for awards ceremonies, this movie uses its last twenty minutes to congratulate itself. The ending is like "Touched by an Angel" with a bigger budget and without that porky cow Della Reese. Leder and Dixon let down all defenses and the movie gets swamped in the sticky, warm diarrhea of phony good feelings. It's like the makers recapping why their movie is so great. And Osment dying is just the movie's way of faking its own death so it can have a funeral and let people speak about how powerful and moving it was.

Spacey is normally a fine actor, and he's all right here, but anytime I see a guy with a physical deformity in a "powerful" movie I can't help but think "Oscar-bait." And that's what this is all about. This is Spacey's Forrest Gump.

Hunt is after an statue, too, but she's dreadful. Her whole performance is about "see how bad I can look, see how dramatic it is for me to look like I just got hit by the ugly truck." Her role, outside of the skanky factor, is flat. Hell, I like a skanky-looking woman more than the next man, but only when the skank comes from within, not as a tacked on and cheap definition of her. Osment is a boy wonder, for sure. The wonder is how they crammed the brain of a boring 40-year-old accountant into a kid's body. He's good at overacting, crying and giving steely looks, but every time he's expected to act like a kid, he's lost. One overly long scene has him proving what a big wrestling fan he is moves and it's like he's mimicking an adult pretending to be a kid. It looks as fake as the wood-trim on a 1972 Gran Torino station wagon.

One fucking finger for "Pay It Forward." Technically, it's a two-finger movie, but there's no way in hell I'll reward Hollywood's hypocrites for congratulating themselves.

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