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September 17, 2006

Shock: Brian DePalma Directs Movie About Graphic Psychosexual Mutilation of Woman, and It Sucks

I admit I liked Body Double and Blow Out when I was younger, and still, for reasons not quite fathomable to me, find them appealing somehow. But DePalma has been remaking the same sort of movie throughout his career and he just never seems to get it quite right. All that practice, so many bites at the apple, and he just can't seem to get his One Movie In Twenty-Six Iterations right.

It's not DePalma's fault, I guess, that Hollywood only thinks of him for Dressed to Kill type gory thrillers, but it's his fault that so many of them are bad. Including Black Dahlia.

To describe The Black Dahlia as one of the worst movies ever made is an insult to many of the worst movies ever made. And it has what may be the single most ridiculous climax I've ever seen. It's almost worth seeing so you can stare open-mouthed at the screen in abject disbelief...

Oh well. Thought I might check it out because the case is interesting (if repulsive). Guess I'll wait for DVD. Then again, I saw The Avengers because I heard it was just this level of open-mouthed WTF? awful, and I was not disappointed in the least. I. Love. Godawful. Movies.

So maybe I will see it. At least I won't have to show up early to get a good seat.

I feel kind of bad for DePalma. He had some talent, but his contemporaries (and friends) were Steven Spielberg and George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola. Talk about being a clique's ugly chick.*

I didn't even know the Black Dahlia was directed by DePalma until someone mentioned it. The ad campaign doesn't seem to want the public to know that.

Maybe DePalma doesn't want the public to know that, either.

* Heh: I'm reminded of the time Lucas screened Star Wars for his friends, including Spielberg and DePalma. The special effects weren't done yet -- the battle scenes were just footage from WWII fighter-pilot sagas, which Lucas had copied for Star Wars anyway -- and DePalma mercilessly mocked Lucas. Lucas, if I remember right, was pretty hurt, and pretty worried, by DePalma's savage reception. He kept asking him things like, "What the hell was that walking dog, George? A 'wookie'? A Wookie? What were you thinking, George?"

Spielberg, on the other hand, walked away from the very, very rough cut saying the movie would make at least a hundred million dollars (and that was back when hundred million dollar movies were a new phenomenon, and more or less a singular one, with Spielberg's Jaws pretty much the beginning and end of the list).

I don't want to call DePalma a dick, even if he did direct the dreadful Bonfire of the Vanities. But for a guy who described the anxiety about a mvoie's opening weekend as feeling like he had the film's box office flashing in neon on the back of his jacket, he sure seemed kinda dickish about Lucas' big gamble.

Not DePalma's Fault? J-Pod seems particularly put-off by the idiotic solution to the murder, whatever it is.

I'm thinking maybe this is the fault of whoever hired DePalma. At first blush, one might think DePalma was born to direct a movie about the Black Dahlia.

But actually, he's the worst choice possible. He's done this movie about fifteen times already. Ergo, he has to do something different to avoid being criticized for plagiarizing himself (which he will be accused of anyway, because he always does repeat his old tropes) and also to simply feel like he's not directing Body Double II: Double Down.

A different director might have felt more comfortable rehashing a more standard, less idiotic solution to the crime. But DePalma's tread this ground so many times that option really isn't open to him.


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posted by Ace at 02:29 PM

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