culture, politics, commentary, criticism

Friday, July 23, 2004
Drowning critics in Mystic River. One of the worst movies I have ever seen was last night's DVD rental, Mystic River. Cheap, dishonest emotional falsehoods abound under the astoundingly abysmal direction of Clint Eastwood.

I have seen student films in rough cut with better editing, lighting, cinematography, scripts, production design, and even acting. One howlingly bad music cue after another led to the only suspenseful revelation in the movie: who wrote this offensively pompous, execrable "music"? Because the credits were at the end of the picture, we had to wait to find out that it was none other than Clint himself, supplying an egomaniacal flourish of post-production incompetence to the production's countless failures.

Much of the movie is a police procedural murder mystery, so it probably doesn't help that I'm reading PD James, an author who knows how to handle this genre with a master's touch. Clint Eastwood, on the other hand, could not identify (let alone dodge) even the most enormous clichés with a magnifying glass.

The picture was so irredeemably bad that the following mainstream critics are forever banished from consideration, for having written these favorable reviews:
AO Scott
Stephanie Zacharek
Roger Ebert
Michael Wilmington
Idiots, each and all. Why did they kowtow to Eastwood and his piece of shit? Perhaps we'll never know.

All the scenery-chewing (note especially Sean Penn and Tim Robbins), based on the fraudulent deck-stacking of the script and direction, added up to nothing because there were no characters in the movie, only Pavlovian responses to a barrage of directorial manipulations. Kevin Bacon is "seething"? No, he's drawing a blank because the director was too lazy to give him a part to play that resembled anything approaching a human being. Off and on for two hours Bacon's "character" speaks on his cell phone to a pair of lips that are supposed to represent his damaged emotional life. What the lips represented instead was Eastwood's utter inability to direct a scene.

Bad, bad, bad. Any critic who suggests that this lazy-ass, inept filmmaking is anything but ignorable would have been killed off in a better murder mystery.

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