Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Marie Antoinette

Let them eat shit!

While not quite the quip attributed to Marie Antoinette, it’s what I attribute to the lump of celluloid entitled “Marie Antoinette”.

Written and directed by Sofia Coppola, the movie attempts to show the life of Antoinette from her betrothal to Louis XVI to their departure from Versailles as the French revolution swept the land.

I have liked Coppola’s last two films, “Lost in Translation” and “The Virgin Suicides”. However, there is nothing to like about “Marie Antoinette” aside from the notion that this review will keep all of you from ever having to watch it.

Where should I begin tearing this movie a new one?

Let’s start with the actors.

Kirsten Dunst was tapped to play the teenager turned Queen. How in the hell does this girl keep getting acting jobs that don’t require a pole and a chest full of glitter?

Look, we all saw “Interview with the Vampire” and were fooled into thinking this precocious little child had something different to bring to the table.

Since then, she has had some passable roles where she played some variation of a ditzy cheerleader whore (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, “Bring It On”, “Small Soldiers” to name a few).

Just about everything else has been a film trying to be good in spite of her. She makes me guffaw at any hint that she’s trying to emote and outside of playing a spoiled, vampy socialite, I don’t know if there’s any role I’d believe her in.

I think I was laughing at her “acting” about 68% of the time she was onscreen in “Marie Antoinette” and cringing the remaining 32%.

There’s this especially awful scene where Antoinette is distraught that she hasn’t conceived a child yet and she breaks down in tears … well, at least you think that’s what should happen but neither I, nor my friend, could tell if she was crying or laughing.

It’s like trying to debate whether the chicken came before the egg … who the hell knows?

“Acting” opposite Dunst was Jason Schwartzman as Louis XIV. When is his shtick going to end? Hasn't his 15 minutes run out yet?

Sure, he delivered one hell of a funny line in “Rushmore” (O.R. they?) but every role he gets is some incarnation of a slacker with a heart of gold and a quirky sensibility (“Shopgirl”, “Spun”, “Slackers”).

There’s nothing new to his take on the King of France either. Apparently, the French monarch who helped finance the American Revolution was a timid, foppish drummer in an Emo band (Phantom Planet if you didn’t know).

The worst part about these two is not only their complete lack of acting ability but the “script” Coppola comes up with doesn’t ask them to do anything anyway.

In fact, the movie has no plot! Zero! Zip! Nada!

It’s barely a “slice of life” type of picture. Early on, the issue is that they haven’t conceived a child. Maybe it’s because of the subtext that Louis XVI might be gay. Do they follow up on that?

Of course not.

Instead, after an hour of hilariously stupid boredom, they have a child … and then another … and then another.

At one point in the film, in order to fast-forward the time span, Coppola uses a series of paintings to show how their family changes with the birth and/or death of their children.

I can’t make that kind of crap up! She didn’t even bother using a voiceover. It’s a freaking painting parade!

Surrounding this farce is a supporting cast that ranges from good (Steve Coogan) to passable (Rip Torn, Shirley Henderson) to downright dumb (Molly Shannon, Asia Argento).

Go ahead and read that again. Coppola cast Molly “I smell my armpits because I’m a superstar” Shannon and Asia “I’m an Italian sexpot turned crappy filmmaker” Argento as characters in a drama centered on 18th century France.

Of course, I suppose that doesn’t matter because unless the actor is actually French, they don’t need to have an accent or speak French. That’s right, everyone in the movie speaks as they would if you met them at a Denny’s at three in the morning.

A friend who suffered through this monstrosity with me mentioned that this movie definitely got “lost in the translation” and apparently that’s because no one connected to the production could find a vocal coach to train the actors.

Even Kevin Costner tried a ridiculously bad English accent at the beginning of “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”. It didn’t work and he dropped it after the first 15 minutes but at least he tried!

Moving on to other horrific aspects of the movie, we get to the music. Coppola decided to use contemporary crap-cover-pop in a period film. That might have worked if the music wasn’t so God-awful or if she stuck to using only contemporary music.

There are numerous scenes involving Opera or Classical music that work much better in tone and setting and only serve to undermine the use of more modern fare.

Getting back to the story problems, like I mentioned before there is no plot. Just trying to figure out if the movie is coming to an end before the sun rises is harder than anything else I’ve done in the last few years. They list this at just under two hours but I felt like I’d been there all night.

The audience is forced (at what feels like gun point) to watch as Antoinette adjusts to the French traditions at Versailles, then as she attempts to conceive a child, then as she attempts to find true passion with another man, then as she stands by her King as the mobs of angry French people descend upon their home.

Did I mention that absolutely NONE of those events involved character development or a justified buildup within the script to make any of it worth a damn?

I can see why this was booed at Cannes and I second the motion.

Booo!

BOOOOOO!

This is offensive to the French people (how in the hell did they convince the people at Versailles to let them film on the grounds), it’s offensive to audiences who have to pay for this kind of abuse, and it’s offensive to me because I could use the millions of dollars wasted on this garbage to buy a home and stock it with a ridiculously large plasma HDTV set with digital surround sound and a slurpee machine.

I think you know what kind of rating is coming for “Marie Antoinette”. I really should invest in better quality hammers because the number of times I should have bludgeoned myself and my friend (because I’m a compassionate person) would probably break the normal run-of-the-mill Craftsman tool.

I’m awarding Coppola and crew a 0 out of 5. There is nothing to enjoy here and only a lobotomy might provide slightly less intelligent thoughts to pass before your eyes.

Avoid this movie as you would Pauly Shore if he was begging you for money to feed his weasel … wow, that idea is even creeping me out.

11 Comments:

Blogger B said...

May I recommend that you go back through your review and insert random instances of the words "caca" or "merde"...

Yeah, this looked like "Knights Tale" with less dancing, worse music, better cast, worse acting, and worse story line (I take you back to the fact that I'm talking about the major POS Knights Tale).

11/08/2006 05:44:00 AM  
Blogger The ZOMBIE said...

Wow. Just looking at the stupid cast list makes me want to stay away from this one. If it's anything worse than Knights Tale, I'd rather watch Borat being teabagged for 3 hours.

11/08/2006 06:19:00 AM  
Blogger B said...

Have you seen Borat? Something very close to that happens for a few minutes (not quite three hours)...

11/08/2006 07:05:00 AM  
Blogger Hungry Hank said...

Dude, I was trying to eat breakfast and now all I can think about is Ali G getting a mouthful ... ewwwww.

11/08/2006 08:23:00 AM  
Blogger Hungry Hank said...

Also, this made "A Knight's Tale" look like Shakespeare and Baz Luhrman's "Romeo + Juliet" look like "The Godfather".

11/08/2006 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger PowerSurgeon said...

http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2265456&cp#prod_prodinfo

11/08/2006 09:22:00 AM  
Blogger Full Force said...

...I'd rather be in Coventry.

11/09/2006 07:25:00 PM  
Blogger The ZOMBIE said...

I did see Borat, hence the reference. :D

11/11/2006 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger Hungry Hank said...

I'm confused, I don't think anyone questioned that you did see Borat ... btw, what did you thik of it?

I'll try to get to it in the next few weeks but you never know with my schedule.

11/11/2006 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger B said...

What, no retrospective on Anne Hathaway's birthday?

Good reference zombie, though I could do without the reminder of said tea-bagging...

11/12/2006 07:20:00 PM  
Blogger Hungry Hank said...

I'm trying to avoid the restraining order, so no extravagant displays of inappropriate obsession. :(

11/12/2006 08:04:00 PM  

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