Guru Movie View: The Paperboy

Movie still provided by Millennium Films. Copyright MXVIIVXIIMM. All rights reserved.

Movie still provided by Millennium Films. Copyright MXVIIVXIIMM. All rights reserved.

I don’t normally review movies as this space is reserved for more critical thoughts. This is a much needed one time exception. But I refuse to call this a “review.” I’m not going to re-view this shit ever again. -Ed.

Oops. Did the preceding comment give too much away? It was merely supposed to be a fluff piece of exposition to establish foundation. Spoiler alert. My bad. You might say I didn’t like this movie much. Now I’m going to spend some time trying to convince you why. If you like being pathetic and having absolutely no shame, read on with me, won’t you?

Nothing is worse than having a Netflix full of steaming streaming content. And yet there I was on the sofa, seven remote controls balanced carefully on my belly, and pounding my skull repeatedly with a hammer.

In that vein, I enthusiastically decided to queue up The Paperboy. I wasn’t quite ready to put my hand in the garbage disposal yet. At least, I hoped, someone was going to spread that paper on the floor and some business would get done. (Poop tag earned.)

Prima facie, the movie is presented to the public ostensibly as an “entertainment.”

It’s actually extremely well acted. Zac Efron is maybe a protagonist? It also stars Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, John Cusack, and Macy Gray. (I didn’t know it was Macy until researching for this post.) The hot mess is directed by Lee Daniels, the same guy who recently directed the most excellent emotional roller coaster and thought provoking ride The Butler.

Plot summary: Someone took the plot out to the swamp, strung it up, and graphically using a big knife, gutted it right in front of our very eyes.

What’s left? Little more than a nonsensical montage of confusing and disturbing images. The characters, while extremely well acted, literally cause you to give a flying shit less about anything about them. Their efforts are almost universally wasted.

The sole exception is the character of Anita, acted by Macy Gray, who suffers interminably because of the existence of the other characters. She’s literally the only person of interest. Make an entire movie about her story and I’ll come back for more.

This was one of those movies where I didn’t understand the characters, didn’t like them as people, and couldn’t understand jack shit about their motivations. I think they might have been playing Dungeons and Dragons and using 20-sided dice to decide what to do next. That makes a lot more sense than what we were actually presented with.

Watching this movie was like reading a story written exclusively with words you didn’t know. Through much concentration on my part I finally gleaned from context that someone was on death row. For reasons unknown some other people thought he was innocent. For reasons unknown a weird woman was in love with the inmate. For reasons unknown some idiot we don’t remotely feel empathy for also falls in love with her. For reasons unknown I watched the whole damn thing.

Weird sex scene? Check! The weird woman spreads her legs for the inmate during a prison visitation and does something I’m going to call “optical oral.” That’s where you get to see from it across the room. Cusack’s inmate is so disgusting we’d rather step on him like an ant than see him gratify himself through his pants. This all takes place while the other characters sit around and watch. Yuck.

McConaughey turns in a very McConaughey performance. You’ll recognize him from every other movie he’s ever been in. Right until the movie switches gears and takes a “plot twist” that’s totally graphic, unnecessary and makes absolutely no sense to the nonexistent plot.

Ripping off an episode of Friends there is a trippy sequence where one person dives in the ocean to blow off steam and ends up in a perfect storm of jellyfish. Nicole Kidman’s character is only too happy to provide the pee in the exact opposite of stage fright. Joey would be so jealous. That pee goes everywhere, and they even use words to explain it to us: body, crotch, and face. Yep. That about sums it up.

The swamp scenes show a slice of Americana not often enjoyed on the big screen, complete with machismo on steroids, alligator gutting and women folk kept topless. Or is that crocodile? I don’t know the difference. This movie wasn’t big on science.

Want to see a better movie than The Paperboy? Take 42 bullshit clips from the TMZ website, splice them together randomly, and voila! You’ll have an Oscar worthy contender.

The worst thing of all? This wasn’t based on a true story. Somebody deliberately made this shit up! I hope the NSA is profiling that person. There was nothing compelling in this movie. This was not a story that needed to be told. There was also no art.

This movie was so bad it actually made me angry. I was in a bad mood for days. For that reason I’m keeping it in the instant queue. It’ll come in handy if my mood ever gets uplifted.

I give this movie: two clenched fists uplifted in rage.

And Netflix: Yeah, I’m talking to you! Thanks for unexpectedly pulling the plug on every show I was actually watching and leaving this drivel behind. I’m currently reevaluating our relationship.

4 responses

  1. I need a new prescription for glasses due to the constant scanning of really bad movies on Netflix that I have no desire to watch and squinting in disbelief when I DO find something I want to watch and find that’s shitty, too. Did you know they sometimes list a movie then take it off again almost immediately. I got excited about “The ‘Burbs” with Tom Hanks for about 16 seconds, went to click play, and “poof” it was gone. What’s that all about?


    1. Netflix is the best system of denial that humans have ever invented. It even beats out religion.


  2. So, uh, thumbs down?


    1. If by “thumbs” you mean nuclear devices in my pants, that’s a roger.


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