Letters to Hell - January 2000



  - Introduction
  - Some Pictures of Their Own
  - Squeezing John's Crotch
  - Energetic, Dazzling, and Assured
  - You Need to be Taken Down a Notch
  - You Don't Know Bupkiss
  - Thanks For Your Narrow Mindedness
  - Hopelessly Uneven
  - Magnolia
  - Closest I've Seen Any Movie Come
  - Perhaps He Was Having a Bad Day


The first batch of the new century!  Per usual, these are mail mes-
sages, news postings, and message board missives, stripped of the 
sender's identity and edited for clarity, length, and to make me 
look better.  Enjoy!

Some Pictures of Their Own

[ From: John ]

> > Grade: F
> Methinks you howled too much on this.  I hope you are not suc-
> cumbing to pressure from without.  This one made money and the 
> Christians want some pictures of their own.

Squeezing John's Crotch

[ From: Carrie in Raleigh ]
[ Re: TOY STORY 2 ]

> > Woody learns that he's a vintage doll from the fifties after 
> > meeting three other toys from that era:  John Cusack's cowgirl
> I hope you mean *Joan* Cusack, unless someone's squeezing John's
> crotch to make him sound girlie!

Energetic, Dazzling, and Assured

[ From: Dan ]
[ Re: The Year in Review ]

> > "Exsqueeze me," THE PHANTOM MENACE
> Wow.  Lucas used this?  Really?  Because the pun appears a couple 
> of times in the 1998 Hindi musical KUCH KUCH HOTA HAI.  If only 
> PHANTOM MENACE could have been a fraction of the energetic, daz-
> zling, and assured crowd-pleaser that one is!

You Need to Be Taken Down a Notch

[ From: A. Nonymous ]

> You are a pretentious, snide, holier-than-thou critic.  How can 
> you give a masterpiece of the 20th century like AMERICAN BEAUTY
> a "B" and give bottom-of-the-barrel IRON GIANT an "A-" ?!   Ob-
> viously, you need to be taken down a notch. 

[ Obviously. ]

You Don't Know Bupkiss

[ From: Mal in Oxford, England ]

> For ages now I've been trying to find the origins of the phrase 
> "bupkiss" as in "You don't know bupkiss", "He came up with bup-
> kiss," etc.  My latest search found your site as having used it 
> in July 1998.  Every time I find an article using the word, I 
> write and ask if the author knows where the term comes from.  Now
> it's your turn.  Can you help me? 
> Yours becoming more obsessed by the day

[ Isn't it a Yiddish term? ]

Thanks For Your Narrow Mindedness

[ From: The Parent of a Wonderful Doctor-to-Be ]

> You're pathetic!  PATCH ADAMS is wonderful and has inspired many 
> kids and adults about attaining their goals and being themselves.  
> My daughter is an exceptional student, who gets straight "A's" 
> and has the ambition of treating patients some day.  This movie 
> inspired her not to be afraid of her goals; that obstacles are 
> merely that, just obstacles.  And that they can be overcome.  
> Thanks for your narrow mindedness!

[ My pleasure! ]

Hopelessly Uneven

[ From: Mark ]

> > THE BACHELOR is worth a trip to the altar.  That is, if you can 
> > get past the painful-and-at-times-excruciatingly-so performance 
> > of Renee Zellweger, an actress whose funky facial features make 
> > her look like (a.) she's always crying or (b.) is recovering 
> > from a stroke.  
> I don't think Renee Zellweger's looks should be an issue, just 
> her acting.  From the few films I've seen her in-- LOVE AND A 
> .45, JERRY MAGUIRE, ONE TRUE THING-- it's clear that she's rather 
> limited in her acting range.  Cameron Crowe managed to pull a 
> genuinely good performance from her in JERRY MAGUIRE; otherwise, 
> she's been hopelessly uneven.  

[ Not to mention those funky facial features! ]

Magnolia #1

[ From: Tom ]

> > MAGNOLIA presents a four-pack of believe-it-or-not tales, about 
> > a hanging, a forest fire, a suicide attempt, and a rainstorm.  
> > The first three are covered in the film's first fifteen min-
> > utes; the fourth takes close to three hours to unfold and in-
> > volves a double dozen Los Angelinos of varying ages, occupa-
> > tions, and interrelaions, and all of whom-- common thread a-
> > lert!-- are either seeking forgiveness or are willing to grant 
> > it.  
> Nice try, Mike, but I don't see it.  Firstly, a "double dozen Los 
> Angelinos"?  There are eight main characters.  Secondly, "seeking 
> forgiveness or willing to grant it"?  How does this apply to 
> Philip Seymour Hoffman's character?  How does this apply to Wil-
> liam H. Macy's character?  How does this apply to John C. Reil-
> ly's character?  How does this apply to Melora Walters character?  
> How does this apply to Jeremy Blackman's character?
> It's one thing to not like Magnolia.  It's another thing to miss 
> the point entirely.

[ See below ]

Magnolia #2

[ From: Reagan in response to Tom ]

> > Secondly, "seeking forgiveness or willing to grant it"?  How 
> > does this apply to Philip Seymour Hoffman's character?  
> He's attempting to engineer the forgiveness of Jason Robards' 
> character. 
> > How does this apply to William H. Macy's character?
> He's seeking forgiveness for the waste of his potential, in the 
> form of love.
> > How does this apply to John C. Reilly's character?  
> How does it not?  Did you miss his closing monologue?
> > How does this apply to Melora Walters character?  
> She's seeking forgiveness in her own misguided way, for not lov-
> ing herself because of the abuse she received at the hands of her 
> father.  It's irrational, but then so are people.
> > How does this apply to Jeremy Blackman's character?
> He's the weakest link of all of these; he's seeking more of a re-
> lease than to forgive.

[ See below ]

Magnolia #3

[ From: Jim in response to Reagan ]

> > He's the weakest link of all of these; he's seeking more of a 
> > release than to forgive.
> They're all looking for release; that's the character trait pres-
> ent in all of the characters, and, IMHO, the point of the movie.  
> "Let my people go or I will plagued you with frogs."  All of the 
> characters are trapped in situations that they endeavour to free 
> themselves from; those who are trying before the plague succeed 
> (in some way) after, from Earl Partridge's death to Stanley's ad-
> monishment of his father "you have to treat me nicer."

[ I'd go with "release" over "forgiveness" ]

Magnolia #4

[ From: Ellen in Raleigh ]

> I will never like "One (is the Loneliest Number)" again.  It set 
> my teeth on edge, and I thought I'd have to leave before the mov-
> ie got started.  
> And what about the frogs!?!?  (Billy Crystal is bound to do some-
> thing with *that* at the Academy Awards.)  
> Cruise was stellar, but his raw language had less effect since
> every character talked the same trash talk, except for the cop. 
> There seemed to be only one characterization going on, and as we
> are told, it is a damn lonely number.  
> All about parents and children... could have been great.  Too bad.  
> Good God.

Magnolia #5

[ From: Jon ]

> One the worst if not *the* worst movie I have ever been subjected 
> to.  Can be described in two words: multimedia diarrhea.  It was 
> three hours of torment which had no redeeming social value what-
> soever.  The only common theme throughout was the use of the f-
> word, by almost all of the characters, no matter their age, sex, 
> or situation.  I went into the movie with an open mind, not ex-
> pecting anything as I had not read any reviews.  And afterward, I 
> didn't hear one positive comment from anyone leaving the theatre.  
> The closest was "one of the weirdest movies I have every seen."  
> I would not recommend this to anyone.

[ Duly noted! ]

Closest I've Seen Any Movie Come

[ From: John ]

> > ANY GIVEN SUNDAY is a long, loud blur.  Good luck following 
> > even *half* of Ollie Stone's frantic football film, as nearly 
> > all of the game footage is of the handheld, varying speed, 
> > ultra-close-up, is-he-aping-Michael-Bay-or-what? variety.  
> Well, speaking as someone who played football in his youth, the
> handheld, barely coherent violence of the scenes down in the
> "trenches" are the closest I've seen any movie come to approx-
> imating what football looks like when you're wearing a helmet.
> > (On the story side, the subplots can get a bit confusing, as 
> > well.  What was that business between Cameron Diaz's team owner 
> > and Charleton Heston's league commish, anyway?)  
> Early in the film, Diaz's team owner is trying some behind the 
> scenes maneuvers to move her team from Florida to LA.  This is 
> apparently against league policy in some way, and someone's leak-
> ed a word to the commish's office.
> > Off-field, the two-and-three-quarter-hour film (ugh) is only 
> > *slightly* less in-your-face.  (And the award for Most Yelling 
> > in a Motion Picture goes to...)  
> Must disagree.  Despite the presence of Al Pacino, that award has 
> been retired in perpetuity, belonging forever to Stone's BORN ON 
> THE FOURTH OF JULY, with eternal runner-up being Sidney Lumet's 
> Q&A.

[ I'll agree to disagree ]

Perhaps He Was Having a Bad Day

[ From: Wes ]

> Although it's been out for a few years, I recently watched BRAS- 
> SED OFF!  While searching for more information regarding the mag-
> nificently precision Colliery Band that provided the brass band 
> music, I came across Mike Legeros' review.  He raked the film for 
> about any reason he could find.  Perhaps he was having a bad day 
> and was unable to separate his doldrums from his critics work-- a 
> common malady among critics of all kinds-- but in tearing up a 
> particularly nice film he didn't mention the wonderful precision 
> of the brass band providing the music.  Perhaps Mr. Legeros has 
> no real talent for the arts or anything else and therefore is un-
> qualified to judge any film, play, painting, or music.  I have 
> rarely heard any band or orchestra play with more heart and tal-
> ent as the coal miners supplying the music for the film.  It's 
> too bad that critics don't have access to personal-attitude baro-
> meters that can tell them the baseline from which they are judg-
> ing a film, play, or recording.  It could also remind them of 
> what personal talent they lack, so they only judge art works for 
> which they have a genuine skill or gift.  Mr Kerberos really mis-
> sed the boat on this one and I believe he should be prevented 
> from expressing judgements on anything outside his (in my opin-
> ion) limited talent range.

[ Free speech sucks. ]

The Offending Review

> BRASSED OFF!, the only musical mining drama that's likely to 
> grace our shores this (or any other) year, has, to its credit, a 
> strong cast (headlined by Pete Postlethwaite, Tara Fitzgerald, 
> and Ewan McGregor), several compelling characters, and plenty of 
> fine brass music. (Music and dialogue rendered on a recording so 
> crisp that I actually had trouble paying attention to the movie! 
> Since when did small films start sounding so big?)  What sends 
> this British import right down the crapper is a weighty mix of 
> dour drama-- striking miners, families strapped for cash, clowns 
> trying to commit suicide, etc.-- and heavy-handed politics. Ugh. 
> By the end, when the colliery band makes it to their final compe-
> tition, there's nothing left to celebrate, except, perhaps, the 
> impending restoration of blood flow to a certain bum deal.  An 
> interesting movie, I suppose, but way too bitter to be bitter-
> sweet.  Released in 1997.  (Rated "R"/107 min.)
> Grade: C+

[ Way too bitter.  Good night everybody! ]
Copyright 2000 by Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

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