Directed by Richard Kelly.
Written by Richard Kelly.
Starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Seann William Scott, Sarah
Michelle Gellar and Justin Timberlake.
Release Year: 2006
Review Date: 11/12/07
Let me put this to you as simply as
possible--"Southland Tales", the new film by the guy that gave us
"Donnie Darko", is bad. No, it's fucking awful...no, no,
wait--it's fucking atrocious. How bad was "Southland Tales"?
For the free full-house showing that my friend Ross and I attended
tonight, literally a third of the viewing audience walked out of our
theater by the time the movie ended.
You always get a couple of folks who walk
out of a film before it's over, but this was damn near a mass
exodus. There's a reason for that--"Southland Tales" was
really fucking poor.
An ensemble piece that draws a picture of a
distant future...whoops, that "distant" future is Los Angeles in
July of 2008. The GOP has screwed the country over and a major
action film star (played by The Rock) has discovered a plot by the
government to...well, it gets tricky here, but a cop (Seann William
Scott, who worked with The Rock back in
"The Rundown") has
been cloned and now exists in two dimensions, a porn star (Sarah
Michelle Gellar) is posing as the action star's wife, an underground
movement led by a radical named Dream (Amy Poehler) is attempting to
overthrow the government, and a former soldier (Justin Timberlake)
likes to get high and has a really nasty scar.
Oh, and if you think that's random, I
haven't even gotten to the fact that John Fucking Larroquette is in
As many of you know, I was not a "Donnie
Darko" fan; I've never been a fan of films that try to be weird for
the sake of it. "Southland Tales" will be tough to stomach
even for the staunchest of Richard Kelly fans, because not only does
the film make no sense, it doesn't even register on the "why was
this film ever made" scale through its way-too-long 140-minute
running time. I mean, Christopher Lambert plays a gun runner
in this movie...Christopher Lambert, whose last screen role was
"Highlander: Endgame." Embarrassing. Cheri Oteri, the
crazy cheerleader actress from "Saturday Night Live" of late, plays
one of the radicals in this movie...atrocious. This
near-future vision is full of randomly-unfathomable violence, then
full of randomly-unfunny sexual references (although, I have to
admit, it's amusing that Gellar would play a character who would
star in a mock porn film called "Cockchuggers 2"). The film
never really gets to a funny mocking of today's politics, or today's
overuse of advertising, or Hollywood, or police brutality, or good
It's a mess, in every sense of the word;
when people were leaving our theater, all of them had this
shellshocked look on their face, as if even being prepared for weird
they had been weirded-out by what had just happened.
"Southland Tales" was finished quite a while ago, so waiting to put
it in theaters this long has to be a sign that the studios who
greenlit this affair knew what I now know, that a movie has to have
some semblance of a point in order to be salable to the viewing
public. This is the new front-runner for worst film of the
Rating: Hard Vice
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard