Archives Ratings Mrs. Filthy Gooden Worsted


Roger Ebert

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

Shanghai Noon gets "Thumb up!"

Love and Basketball gets "Thumb up!"

Final Destination gets "Thumb up!"

Center Stage gets "Thumb up! A sweet and smart charmer!"

and on and on...

B. Traven - Trozas
Pauline Kael - 5001 Nights at the Movies

Octopussy on the Superstation

Man or Astroman? - Is it... Man or Astroman?

Big Empire

Post-it Theater

Las Vegas

The Gift ElectroniquÈ

Big Empire Buddies


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

This week:

Small Time Crooks

Filthy says:
"I've lost a hero!"


Read the Readers' Review of Center Stage

There are three ways to make something mediocre. Start with bad shit, but try so hard it elevates itself to average, like the baseball career of John Cangelosi. Or shoot for something great and be incompetent so you end up with mediocre, such as the Kia Sephia and my sister-in-law's grilled chicken. Or, start out mediocre and stay the course, such as "Small Time Crooks" and my abruptly-ended career as a shelver at the Family Dollar.

Yes, I was recently "let go" from the Family Dollar, and not because I gave them a full 50% effort. You can never be fired for doing a half-assed job as a shelver at a discount store. I was fired for telling the truth. You see, Family Dollar doesn't want their employees being honest with customers. I got my ass canned for telling a young lady, "Sprinkles the Shower Clown is a shitty piece of merchandise that I wouldn't buttfuck a horse with. Besides, you can get it for $2 less at MacFrugals," or "a lady busted her tooth on some of that peanut brittle," or even something as truthful as, "Lady, get your fat ass off the tube socks display." That was the truth, but Family Dollar didn't want to hear it.

Rather than firebomb the store, which was my first instinct, I went to the movies to let off steam. I saw "Small Time Crooks" and it made me realize the danger of only wanting to be mediocre, especially if you expect somebody to pay for it. When I pay my $8 for a movie, I want to feel something, to be incited to run out of the theater, knock over the popcorn machine and bite someone, or be relieved and happy that my life isn't going down the shitter, but Woody didn't deliver. He didn't even try.

In "Small Time Crooks" Woody Allen is a reformed criminal who has a grand scheme for a bank robbery. It requires taking over a shop lease, then tunneling underneath to get into a bank. He teams with a band of steretypical bumbling fuckwads, people who are usually good for a few laughs, but that's it. As a front for the store they lease, Woody's wife, Tracey Ullman, opens a cookie store. Well, the crooks suck at their job and botch it a half-hour into the story, but the cookies are a huge success.

Within a year, the cookie business is bigger than Maggie from "Northern Exposure's" ass (yeah, so I been watching cable TV) and Ullman and Allen are filthy-fucking rich. Ullman spends her money trying to buy her way into high society while Allen longs for the simple life they had before. You see, money doesn't buy happiness, or so the fabulously rich keep telling us. Ullman hires a high-brow hot shot Hugh Grant to teach her about being classy and edumacated, but he only turns out to be as sleazy as the lowest, dirtiest crook out there.

Ultimately, Ullman's stupidity and some corrupt accountants bankrupt the cookie business and Allen and Ullman are back where they started, happy as a couple of clams.

This is a lazy script, full of shortcuts that plug gaps as big as Candy bottom's asshole at the end of "Assfuck Party," which is not one of Candy's better films (bad lighting, fat co-star). The whole bank robbery idea gets dumped thirty minutes in and it's a crying shame. I like bank robbery movies much better than flicks about whiny rich people wishing they were poor. The ending broadsides the audience like an out of control Ford Expedition at a school-zone crosswalk. Allen wraps up the story with a totally unbelievable and rushed set of events that makes it all turn out like a fucking "Fantasy Island" episode where everyone discovers to be careful what they wish for.

"Small Time Crooks" is 95 minutes long, but it feels longer. There's some life to it when it's a farce about a bank robber. I think the bungling bank robber scenario has been beat to hell, but Allen still finds some gags and he still sprinkles in some funny dialog. But, then it becomes a boring story about how money doesn't make people happy. Mr. Allen, you're not the first rich Hollywood fuck to try to tell us this, and you don't say anything new. Besides that, if you really believe it, give us the fucking money and we'll find out for ourselves. You know what the say, experience is the best fucking teacher..

Allen is coasting here. It's sloppy filmmaking from a lazy script. While there are some good Woody Allen jokes, they are slopped into scenes that are too long, where people talk so much I wished I could scan ahead for dirty words and. I wonder how much time he spent on this idea, because it lacks polish more than anything else, like his ideas were never fully developed. And nobody else appears to have stepped in and said, "Uh, Woody, that joke's kind of old."

What's worse is he doesn't even love the characters. They gripe and they bitch, but it wasn't charming. I doubt he gave a rat's ass where they started or where they ended, and neither did I. In his good old movies like "Broadway Danny Rose," he would make a loser a loser, but I'd still love him. This time, I found the people shrill and boring.

The actors, similarly, are just going through the motions. I'm no fan of Tracy Ullman and she doesn't give me any reason to be one after this. All she does is ape stereotypes, both in her shitty HBO preachfest and here, and there's no depth. Allen plays himself okay, but I doubt I will ever be able to shake the image of him in jean shorts. Elaine May plays a ditz who just happens to be wise when needed, and she happens to blurt out information that is key to the plot whenever the sloppy plotting asks.

Two fingers for "Small Time Crooks," a movie that bums me out. I remember when Woody Allen made great movies about smart characters that even dumbshits like me understood. He had a way of humanizing these space alien New Yorkers. Now, however, he's just rehashing without the soul. It's like he's Tupac Shakur and his estate is now just throwing out all the extra shit he had put down but wasn't good enough to release while he was alive. I do thank Allen for reminding me what happens when we don't try very hard, though.

Do You Have a Job for Filthy?
Mrs. Filthy has made it clear that I will not be allowed to sit on my ass for two months this time like I did when the Ralston Amoco closed and I was on the streets. I have to get a fucking job, and fast. Here is what I want to do:
1. Be a full-service bay gas jockey.
2. Find some publisher to pay me to write my book "Filthy at the Movies: 100 Fucking Years of Film History." Think how well that fucker would sell at Christmas if it was sitting on the front table at Barnes and Nobles next to John Grisham's latest shit between covers. If you're a publisher who likes dirty words, contact me. I'll even write a paragraph on porno flicks.
3. Get paid to do what I already do, which is write movie reviews and drink Schaeffer Light and Schlitz. I also shit and sleep, but I don't expect anyone to pay me to do this.

If you want to offer me any of the above, click right here. And don't fucking yank my chain because I am emotionally fragile right now.

To potential employers: You may hear rumors that I have a bad attitude or I am hard to work with. That's fucking bullshit and I want to know who said it. I'm a model worker unless I have to deal with liars and bastards, and any decent company wants those fuckers beat up anyway.

I do not want to hear from any fucking assholes telling me to "Get a better job," like you fucking know what's best for me. The bastards who send me this stupid e-mail every week find it pretty Goddamn easy to write and say get a better job, because they're elitist fucks who think they know best what I want. Actually, they think it's a compliment coming from their comfy chairs in some fancy-fucking office and they think they're better than me. Fuck 'em. And if you want to write and tell me to get a better job, you better fucking offer me a better job. Otherwise, I'm coming to your place of employment and shitting on your lifestyle.

I also do not want to hear from any asshole who says "I hope you're making tons of money," who doesn't buy any shit from Amazon through me. I want people to read the site, and I don't give a flying fuck whether you buy shit from me, but if you're so fucking concerned about my financial well-being, then do something about it. Don't tell me you hope I'm making money and assume some other idiot is paying me. You hope I'm making tons of money, but not yours. Well, what a sincere fucking sentiment.

If you're nuts and you want to do something for Filthy, be like Jessica (I don't know her last name). She fucking rules because she actually does more than ell me "You should be a success." She tells people about my site and gets them to read my shit. I couldn't possibly ask for more. Or be like all of the people who write me to agree or disagree without acting like they know what's best for me. I love e-mail.

Yeah, I'm fucking pissed off, but you would be too if you found out you weren't even good enough to work at Family Fucking Dollar.

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