It’s Time for Another Installment of …
BAD CINEMA WITH BEN
Today’s Feature: “Gigli”
DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN. It is rare that a cinematic production achieves such stunning heights of badness that it leaves me speechless, but Gigli left me so spiritually and intellectually drained that I hardly know what to say. It has been a good twelve hours since I left the horrible confines of my least-favorite movie theatre here in Manchester, and I’m still feeling shell-shocked.
For Gigli was not merely bad; it was so mind-boggling in its sheer stupidity that I will hate it until the end of time. Furthermore, I will not only hate it, but I will hate anything associated with it.
I hated Ben Affleck’s performance in Gigli. I hated Jennifer Lopez’s performance in it. I hated the soundtrack. I hated the work of Martin Brest, the director and screenwriter responsible for this violence against the cinematic arts. I hated the studio which gave Brest $54 million to make this putrescent film. I hated the unknown party within that studio who greenlighted this miserable production because he or she thought it would be great to give Bennifer a vehicle as they cavorted into autumn. Speaking of autumn, let me assure you that even though they have nothing to do with Gigli, I even plan to hate this studio’s upcoming releases for the fall season. That’s how much I hated this movie.
But even though I’ve spit all that out, I don’t feel that I’ve succeeded in expressing my message; these overpowering feelings of disgust and resentment I have towards that unknown person ultimately responsible for this film achieving theatrical release.
Therefore, to do so, I turn to Eli Wallach in the role of Tuco:
“You’ll pay for this! I hope you end up in a graveyard, with the cholera and the rabies and the plague! Cut me loose! Cut me loose, you filthy bastard! I hope your mother ends up in a two-dollar whorehouse! … You slime! You son of a ---!”
“Judas! You sold my hide! But you won’t enjoy that money, not a penny, if there’s justice in this world ... !”
And that’s just the part of Tuco’s soliloquy that I can actually print.
Now, of course, I write in jest. I can assure you that I do not really wish the person behind Gigli to end up in a graveyard, and that I am entirely joking. Everyone whom I had bounced that line off found it incredibly funny, that's all. But I do want to say this:
That scene involving Tuco, in the greatest Western movie ever made ("The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly"), is a truly wonderful comedic moment. In that 90 seconds, when Tuco condemned Blondie with an endless string of insults, there was more passion and wit and life than Gigli would have had if it was ten hours long. Of course, Gigli was only two hours and four minutes long—but what an excruciating two hours and four minutes!
Before I go any further, though, I feel as if I should offer some caveats to you, the faithful Rant reader. The first is that my review contains more spoilers than an open-air fish market in August. That’s fine, though, since none of you are going to go see Gigli anyway.
But I must say that if you are homosexual, you will find Gigli quite offensive because elements within the movie are insulting to homosexuals. If you are Italian, you will find Gigli quite offensive because the movie serves up awful stereotypes of Italians. If you are a member or associate of one of the Five Families or any other crime syndicate, you will find Gigli quite offensive because the movie makes mobsters look like morons. If you are an employee of a law enforcement agency, you will find Gigli quite offensive because the movie makes law enforcement look incompetent. Finally, if you know anyone with a learning disability or other mental handicap, this movie will so offend you that you’ll leave the theatre in a state of apoplectic rage, praying to the Lord our God for some sort of divine justice to smite the cruel forces behind Gigli. Then again, if you plunked down $8 for a movie ticket and shelled out $10 for associated concession-stand snack foods, you might feel such apoplectic rage anyway. I certainly did—and that was even when I knew what I was getting into!
But what really got me about Gigli was just how incredibly stupid it was. I mean, it was so incredibly stupid.
Here’s the pitiful excuse for a plot. Larry Gigli (Affleck) is a yutz, a yutz who has somehow managed to find work with a crime syndicate even though he failed the compentency exam for loansharks. Louis (Lenny Venito), his superior within this syndicate, is constantly and rightfully apoplectic over the fact that Larry is a yutz.
Now, despite the fact that Louis seems to have some modicum of expertise in how to run a criminal enterprise, he still enlists Larry in a wacky scheme to kidnap the brother of a federal prosecutor. This is a particularly stupid idea, and one that Louis’ superiors later recognize as stupid. Yet Louis decides that out of all the criminal figures he can rely upon, he’ll give the job to the guy who can’t even collect the monies he is sent to retrieve from Louis’ customers.
Then, Louis wakes up and realizes that he gave this incredibly important job to a moron. Hence, Louis decides to hire another moron to keep an eye on the first moron. Wacky hijinks ensue.
THIS IS HOW WE THINK TUCO (left) and The Man with No Name would have reacted if Angel Eyes Sentenza had forced them to watch "Gigli" instead of torturing them.
Of course, this is where Cosmic Levels of Stupidity rear their ugly head. For one thing, Larry is somehow able to walk unnoticed into a school for the developmentally disabled and leave the premises with his charge (Justin Bartha) in tow. Then, instead of heading out to Lake Arrowhead or some other remote locale, Larry takes the poor kid back to his apartment.
Yep, there’s nothing that says secrecy like going back to one’s place of residence with a kidnapping victim. Nothing says secrecy like arguing with the door open at your apartment, and nothing says secrecy like openly going around to major attractions in Los Angeles. And nothing says secrecy like using your real name in front of the fellow you’ve kidnapped, a move so stupid that Jennifer Lopez's character doesn’t even make that mistake.
Oh, yes. Jennifer Lopez. Where does one start? Well, we can start off with her character, Ricki. Ricki is a cold-blooded and merciless assassin, yet we are supposed to believe that this same cold-blooded and merciless assassin is a devotee of New Age dogma and other superstitious nonsense. We are supposed to believe that this same cold-blooded and merciless assassin will stand up for the poor defenseless kid with developmental disabilities when Larry starts acting like the jackass he is. We are supposed to believe that Ricki is a competent and learned professional in the arena of crime, yet she and Larry decide it’s OK to sleep in the same bed whilst the poor defenseless kid is given plenty of chance to call for help or otherwise escape his captors. Also, Ricki is homosexual.
Now, I know it is a movie and all, but even in the movies, an avowed lesbian’s sexual orientation should not switch back and forth like the gate on a fence. That’s not only insulting, it’s unrealistic. No one, whether an avowed heterosexual or homosexual, would treat his or her sexuality as a choice less meaningful than what he or she had for breakfast that morning. Especially if the man in question was Larry-freaking-Gigli.
Oh, yeah. Gigli is not pronounced “giggly.” It’s pronounced “gee-lee.” The movie thinks this is a funny running joke. Well, I tried it at the box office, and this is how it went:
ME: “Yeah, I’ll have one for “Giggly,” please.”
TICKET-TAKER (groaning): “Gee-lee.”
See? Not funny then. Not funny in the movie either.
I also should mention that there is practically no violence in this movie, in case any of you saw some published reviews and said, “Well, at least there’s violence to redeem it a little.” Oh, no. The first and only act of overt violence within the film takes place around Minute 107, and even that was dull.
Not that it was really a surprise, since it was truly amazing how dull Lopez and Affleck were in terms of their on-screen chemistry. Gad. Truly this movie contained the absolute worst love scene ever captured on film. It was the most pathetic, most miserable, most feeble excuse for a love scene I have ever seen in my life. Even the soundtrack was flat and limp. And yes, the widely-reported “turkey” line was as hideous as everyone has said it is.
But really, by that point in the movie, one’s anger and frustration had turned to feelings of sadistic glee. One wanted to see the movie get worse, and worse, and worse. One wanted to see awful things happen to the two main characters, and one wanted the clutches of law enforcement to swoop down upon them and deal with them in a most harsh and unforgiving manner.
Still, though, even those feelings of mine gave way to sadness at the very last scene, when a pleasant young actress in a truly minor role was given a chance to have a few speaking lines. As regular readers know, we here at The Rant generally have no sympathy for anyone in the entertainment industry, but I felt so bad for this lady. Here she is, hoping for her big break on screen, and she’s stuck in freaking Gigli. Oh, how I wanted to shout, “No! Don’t do it! Don’t do it! Run like hell!”
But sadly, it was too late. And while it may be too late for me, I can advise readers of The Rant of one thing: if you or someone you love is encouraged to go see Gigli, don’t do it. Don’t do it.
Run like hell.Posted by Benjamin Kepple at August 8, 2003 11:40 AM | TrackBack