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The Exorcist

By Adam Lippe

geuu_01_img0142Most people are brainwashed into thinking The Exorcist is scary and makes you think, when I find it (along with a majority of my friends) to be a pretentious bore that takes itself way too seriously, and to interrupt the boredom, there is an occasional shock cut of something “disturbing,” although I would describe them as unamusingly disgusting material that tries to make you feel dirty for enjoying it because it pretends to be so high-minded and that we should feel ashamed about our possible entertainment on such a “serious” subject.

What results is, boredom for a good hour, then every five minutes something “horrifying” happens, which doesn’t result in shock (as intended), but a kind of exploitative unpleasantness. If director William Friedkin had stuck with the idea of it being down and dirty the whole time, perhaps the film wouldn’t be so consistently unsatisfying and poorly paced.

If the movie had been directed by Brian De Palma in his heyday, it would have been what the book really is, which is black comic trash (even if it won’t acknowledge itself as such). In case you can’t tell, that would have been a good thing.

The Exorcist is pretentious because it takes what should be treated as trash (and really is) and pretends it is holier than thou. The trash level is revealed in the novel which revels in atrocities, and the 2nd hour of the movie which is what it devolves into trying to shock the audience, presenting humorous things, without humor.

What makes The Exorcist pretentious is that it believes it is something that it is not. It believes it is an important movie about faith and redemption (really, it’s just a flimsy and offensive criticism of single motherhood, in other words, if Burstyn had a husband around, this would have never happened) and the power of religion to overcome all of the real problems in your life. However, it is still just poorly disguised trash, treated as gospel.

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By Adam Lippe

Whenever there’s a genre parody or ode to a specific era of films, such as Black Dynamite’s mocking of Blaxploitation films or Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, the second half of Grindhouse, the danger is that the film might fall into the trap of either being condescending without any particular insight, or so faithful that it becomes the very flawed thing it is emulating.

Black Dynamite has nothing new to say about Blaxploitation films, it just does a decent job of copying what an inept [...]

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Featured Quote (written by me)

On Cold Fish:

Though the 16 year old me described the 1994 weepie Angie, starring Geena Davis as a Brooklyn mother raising her new baby alone, as “maudlin and melodramatic,” Roger Ebert, during his TV review, referring to the multitude of soap-operaish problems piling up on the titular character, suggested that it was only in Hollywood where Angie would get a happy ending. “If they made this movie in France, Angie would have shot herself.”

Well Cold Fish was made in Japan, where Angie would have shot herself and that would have been the happy ending.