The Brunching Shuttlecocks Features

Fifteen Minutes

Thank God for movies! If we didn't have these focused insights into the social consciousness, we'd never know right from wrong!

The latest important lesson is given to us by the intellectual anti-establishment protest in the film, 15 Minutes.

Its subtle message? Television is Bad!

In this fresh allegory, we see how the lure of fame, fortune and free press turns two otherwise upstanding Eastern European immigrants into dangerous, psychotic serial killers. Emil and Oleg have come to America with a dream. For Oleg, it is to become a famous film director. For Emil, it is to pick up a bunch of money that is owed him. Sadly, thanks to Television, neither of their dreams turns out as they would have hoped.

Because of Television, Oleg and Emil begin to kill people- videotape the killings, and dream about selling them to sleazy Television personalities, personified perfectly by sleazy Television personality Kelsey Grammer, who plays a sleazy Television personality with a sleazy Television tabloid news show.

Enter Robert DeNiro, a media-friendly police officer who has made a name for himself by being a very good policeman, and by making sure that Television is with him when he is being a very good policeman. He wants to stop Oleg and Emil from killing people. He huffs and he puffs, and in the end all that is proven is that Television is a harsh mistress, and it will turn you into a bitter unwed drunk by the age of 55.

Also along for the ride is Edward Burns as an arson investigator who becomes involved with DeNiro, and learns some of the finer points of how to properly smile for the camera.

Together, Edward and Robert set out to gun down the wannabe Television personalities, Oleg and Emil, and that's where the metaphors come out full throttle. They don't care about WHY these two members-of-the-huddled-masses-yearning-to-be-free are killing people, they are only interested in seeing that their dream-of-financial-success-through-well-lit-bloodshed is dashed upon the steps of liberty.

Lucky for us, the insightful makers of this commentary on America's national fascination with senseless death are here to teach, not just to entertain.

They teach us that Television skews how we see the world- that one man's bad talk show is another man's introduction to the finer points of American society. They also teach us the finer points of Roseanne Barr's tasteful interviewing technique.

They teach us that innocent or guilty doesn't matter nearly as much as a camera-friendly snap shot.

They teach us that America is a sick country in need of a serious spanking.

These murders happen because America wants to see them! How horrible! I had no idea! I think back to all the times I grabbed the morning newspaper solely because of the death depicted on the front page and I am ashamed! Ashamed, I tell you!

And you know what? I've been doing some reading, and it's not just tabloid Television turning our society into a cauldron of slime. Have you listened to American music lately? Such controversial artists as Eminem, Puff Daddy and Tom Lehrer all spout hate and violence constantly! What is America coming to?

Thank God Hollywood is around to give these important social statements their due. To say nothing of how they are able to wrap these issues up in a tight little action thriller, complete with plenty of dead bodies!

Everyone does a good job of acting in this movie. Robert DeNiro is aptly gruff, Edward Burns is aptly cute, and the real stars of the show, Oleg and Emil, are two of the most entertaining villains this side of Die Hard.

I think you should go see this one-of-a-kind movie. I'm giving it 3 1/9 Babylons, and it earns each and every 1/9 of a Babylon I can give it. 15 Minutes will change your life, you may never be able to watch Jerry Springer the same way again!

Editor's Note:

I would wager a guess that the SMC has the Tom Lehrer box set, but I'll have to test him to see if he knows the words to "Cum on Everybody" or "Gangsta Sh*t".

Rated: R
Directed By: John Herzfeld
Starring: Robert DeNiro, Edward Burns, Karel Roden, Oleg Taktarov, Vera Farmiga, Kelsey Grammer, Melina Kanakaredes, Avery Brooks and National Shame.

Join the Self-Made Critic Mailing List Back to The Shuttlecocks Homepage