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Eye of the Beholder


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Apparently that extends to scripts as well because somebody must have liked the script for Eye of the Beholder enough to make the movie. Not sure who that could be, but they're probably serving Chalupas and Gorditas for a living now.

Eye of the Beholder is as bad as you may have guessed. You know, sometimes I wish I wasn't a movie critic. It'd be nice to hear from everyone and their grandmother that a movie is horrible and then be able to NOT SEE IT. But no, I need to go form my own opinion about every cinematic mistake that comes down the pipe. You, however, are not saddled by this need, you can heed my warning (and every other critic's warning) and skip this one.

Before I tell you about the movie (I mean besides telling you how mind-numbingly horrid it is) I have an important Rule of Life to serve to you. Call it The Self-Made Critic's First Rule of Motion Pictures: If it's released in January, it's more painful than an unmedicated root canal. Studios release a lot of really big, really good movies in December, to hit the Christmas rush. Then they leave these movies in theaters for a month so they can grow by word of mouth, and as the various critical awards begin to pour in. Thus, you can still run out and see The Green Mile, The Talented Mr. Ripley, The Insider or even the crowd-pleasing Galaxy Quest. But movies have to be released every weekend- it's a necessity. So studios dump the films that have been sitting on the shelf since the Ford administration. Supernova was supposed to be released in 1997, and Eye of the Beholder was shelved in late 1998. It was only allowed to be released because Double Jeopardy made Ashley Judd a bona fide movie-star. So remember folks, if it's released in January, it sucks more than a turbo-powered garbage disposal.

Anyway, the movie.

Ewan McGregor stars as an American secret agent with an English accent - for about 25 minutes. Then he sorta morphs into a stalker. Ashley Judd is a dangerous, murderous psychopath - for about 35 minutes. Then she becomes more of a grieving widow. She starts by brutally killing a guy, then she kills another guy, then she shoots a guy, then I guess she finds Jesus or something because she stops killing people, and instead of traveling across America on a killing spree, she just becomes a well-wigged freak who likes to travel. Which is good because I was getting tired of hearing her yell "Merry Christmas, Daddy!" every time she offed some poor bloke.

The misguided director wanted to make a really symbolic movie. But he forgot to tell us what he's trying to be symbolic about. Every other location Ewan walks into has some kind of odd animal (lizard, monkey, whatever) hanging out. Which I guess means that the world is full of animals. Every city Ewan and Ashley visit is littered with bums. Which I guess means that poor people live in cities. Every time Ashley shacks up in a new apartment, she takes a bubble bath. Which probably means the director wanted to get as much Naked Ashley on film as possible.

He also is very kind to us, the dumb audience, by taking us on a tour of America via her snow globes. Entering New York? Ewan buys a New York snow globe and the camera pans into the globe for effect. Very pretty. But confusing, since he usually buys the globes before he reaches the city. He's in Pittsburgh and he's gonna catch a plane. He leaves the bar and the bartender says "Hey Mister! You forgot your snow globe!" and the camera pans into the snow globe of San Francisco. As the camera dissolves to a wide shot of San Francisco, I couldn't help wondering where in Pittsburgh he managed to pick that one up?

And then there's this daughter. She's not there. She's with her Mom, but her ghost is walking around with Ewan talking to him and he talks to her and no one else can see her, and apparently no one else cares that he's talking to himself. And then she shows up in one of his pictures. Not that that's ever explained.

If you're getting the idea that this movie is just lame, good. It's lame. It's very lame. haracters do stupid things. Things make no sense. Oh, and k.d. lang has got to be one of the worst actors I've ever seen. She's wooden, silly, and needs some capitol letters in her name, dammit!

Eye of the Beholder gets of a Babylon. Why not 0? Because I'm in a good mood.


Editor's Note:

Why doesn't the SMC give a zero to more movies? Can you name the movie(s) to which he's taken the plunge and given a zero? I think he's just a big pussy, don't you? If you know the answer, send it to contest@brunching.com and be eligible to win a free Brunching Shuttlecocks T-shirt. Contest ends Midnight, Feb 9th, 2000.


Eye Of the Beholder
Rated: R
Directed By: Stephan Elliott
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Ashley Judd, k.d. lang and a bunch of snow globes.

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