“You c—!” The Ten Best Cinematic Uses Of The Ultimate Taboo Word

“Cunt” is about the last word possessing any power to shock, especially here in America. While the rest of George Carlin’s “Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television” list from 1972 – shit, piss, fuck, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits – are now, to various extents (and particularly on cable) part of the public vocabulary, you’ll still rarely find the c-word used.

This does, of course, only apply in America. A lot of the time, it just doesn’t sound right when Americans use it, such as the line in Way of the Gun: “Shut that cunt’s mouth or I’ll come over there and fuckstart her head!” or when Bill tells the Bride in Kill Bill, “Every once in a while, you can be a real cunt.” These examples is like children, who know a bad word or two, but have no concept of how to use them correctly, only that they shock adults. That’s a sad waste of the power inherent in “cunt”.

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TC’s Ten Best Films of 2009

Movies seen theatrically in 2009: three. Yes: you could count then on the fingers of one hand, while still hanging on to your large popcorn. This continues a trend noted in last year’s review, though was exacerbated by us moving house in the middle of the year. As well as the experience occupying us and then leaving us drained of energy for the summer blockbuster season, our new location doesn’t have quite the same easy access to cinemas. Though two of the three movies did make it into the top ten – the other being Avatar – I will also admit that four of the listed films arrived in TC Towers, shall we say, in unofficial ways.

Still, when the top five for the year included not only Avatar, but also Transformers 2 and Twilight: New Moon, Hollywood largely has itself to blame for my absence. But since overall American box-office was up 10% on 2008, and cracked the ten billion dollar mark for the first time, I doubt they noticed. However, I also think this does prove that any claims the downloading of movies is killing the industry are clearly nonsense, just as the music business somehow managed to survive audio-cassettes.

As usual, links go to the most appropriate review, which may be here or may be on GirlsWithGuns.org, and I am limiting myself for the purposes of this list, to movies that got their first North American release in 2009.  But here’s also a list of films seen in the past, which might have merited cond for a previous year’s top ten (having been rated B or better]. Lights in the Dusk, Vantage Point, The Memory of a Killer, In Bruges, Let the Right One In, The Wrestler, The Insurgents, Singh is Kinng, Ils, Black Book, Traitor, Fermat’s Room, King Arthur, Stuck, El Rey de la Montaña, Man on Wire, The Strangers, Let Him Have It, Princess Aurora

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Summer Fun at the Multiplex

Well, everyone and their web-able mother are putting out previews of this summer’s movies. So why should we be any different? Here’s the TC guide to what we have to look forward to over the next four months (here in Phoenix, anyway – check local press for details, as they say). Be sure to check back at the end of August, when we’ll no doubt be terribly embarrassed by our selections. [And the links now go to the appropriate review. Christ, I can’t believe we were actually looking forward to Rollerball]

May

Sure thing: The Mummy Returns (May 4) – follow up to one of the most successful brainless popcorn consumption devices in recent years. Expect more of the same plus WWF’s The Rock (even if we knew he’d lose at Wrestlemania, since he’d be off doing promotion).

What we’re looking forward to: Shrek (May 18) – anything which takes pot-shots at Disney, with a villain strangely reminiscent of Michael Eisner, has to be worth seeing, even if Eddie Murphy’s sidekick schtick is not exactly breaking new ground.

Dodgy ground: A Knight’s Tale (May 11) – we’ve never been able to take medieval movies seriously since Holy Grail, and this looks pretentious as hell. And it has modern rock music behind the jousts! Sure it seemed like a good idea to someone.

Please bomb…please bomb: Pearl Harbor (May 25) – World War II didn’t star until 1942, after Ben Affleck sorted out his love-life. This desperately wants to be Titanic: a love story cunningly disguised behind an action-packed trailer. Let’s hope it doesn’t succeed.

June

What we’re looking forward to: Tomb Raider (June 15) – you expected perhaps something else? Angelina Jolie running around for 90 minutes, firing guns. Yes, we know all about computer game movies. I just don’t care. Will be there on the Friday for this one. Maybe Saturday too.

Dodgy ground: Evolution (June 8) – a bunch of goofy scientists save the world. David Duchovny has shown no ability to carry a movie without an “X” in the title. A lot will rely on the special effects here, which is thin ice for big success.

Please bomb…please bomb: Swordfish (June 8) – two of the less interesting X-Men (Jackson and Berry) team up with Travolta. It’s been fun watching Travolta’s overpaid and overhyped career explode in his face since Battlefield Earth, so fingers crossed this continues the trend.

July

Sure thing: Planet of the Apes (July 27) – as soon as we heard Tim Burton was on board, it was so obvious, in a smack your own forehead way. No doubt, this will look fabulous – however, will they be able to replicate the fabulous ending of the original?

What we’re looking forward to: Final Fantasy (July 11) – see previous qualms about computer games, yet there were moments in FF7 which were genuinely moving. If they can capture that spirit, and with undeniably jaw-dropping CGI, this could be the genuine groundbreaker of summer. Outside shot: just saw a trailer for Cats and Dogs which pits live-action kitties and pooches against each other, somewhere between Austin Powers and Mission Impossible. It looked fabulously crass and funny. Whether it can sustain it for ninety minutes, rather than ninety seconds…

Dodgy ground: Scary Movie 2 (July 4) – an idea which was initially fabulous, was already seriously running out of steam by the end of the first film. How many recent horror hits have there been for it to parody? I sense a departure into general movie parody territory: anyone remember Mafia!?

Please bomb…please bomb: Jurassic Park III (July 20) – enough with the dinosaurs already! What was once new and impressive has become nothing more than another studio franchise. They’re extinct: get over it. Though I can see how CGI dinosaurs would be better than having to deal with Demi Moore.

August

Sure thing: Rush Hour 2 (August 3) – this time, they’re in Hong Kong, so expect a lot of Chris Tucker-out-of-water gags. Otherwise, expect the same as last time – aimiable comedy, in which Jackie never gets out of second gear – and we cruise to another $100 million gross.

What we’re looking forward to: Rollerball (August 17) – while remaking classic films is often a recipe for disaster (Get Carter), this has potential, and the subject matter is even more fitting in these days of media conglomerates. From the director of Die Hard? Might just work.

Dodgy ground: American Pie 2 (August 10) – seems like the gross-out sex comedy has had its day, going by the grosses for the likes of Saving Silverman and Tomcats. It may not just be the apple-pie that gets screwed here, more like a few movie careers.

Please bomb…please bomb: Ghosts of Mars (August 24) – Carpenter’s career has been running on fumes for years. Since They Live, he’s batting 0-for-5; it’s a miracle any studio will touch him. He’s planning Vampires 2. Will someone please stop the man before he hurts others?

Incredibly Bad Film Show: Paradise

Dir: Stuart Gillard
Star: Phoebe Cates, Willie Aames

This takes almost all the best elements from The Blue Lagoon and Walkabout…and chucks them out of the window. Fortunately, the one that remains is Cates, following the footsteps of Brooke and Jenny into the “guilty pleasure” hall of fame. She teams up with Willie Aames, the straitlaced son of a preacher, as they wander across a desert conveniently supplied with a surprising number of oases, pursued by a feelthy Arab called The Jackal in lacklustre fashion (he seems to forget about them for months on end) who carries a British flag around with him for no readily apparent reason. It’s supposedly set in the 1820’s, but possesses absolutely no period atmosphere at all: going by the frequency with which Cates de-kits, it’s more like the late 1960’s.

Due to this, we’ll cut her some slack, and say she copes well with a role which would tax no-one’s acting ability. Aames, on the other hand is expected to be heroic, fighting off the Jackal, rescuing his pubescent squeeze and taking care of business. He is utterly unconvincing at any of this, admittedly hampered by direction so limp, you feel nothing at all when his parents are slaughtered (“Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord”, shouts his father – immediately before being kebabed. Oops). Since he also wrote the script, Gillard must also take blame for utterly laughable anachronisms. For example, there’s the totally fabulous house the pair knock up, complete with a verandah and all other mod cons. And if it really is “paradise”, why is no-one else living there – the Jackal and his gang know about it, since they visit repeatedly. There are also the long periods when nothing happens, save for the supposedly comedic antics of a pair of monkeys.

These are particularly irritating, since they’re a waste of perfectly good naked Phoebe time. The lack of head shots and some other strange quirks suggest that a body double was used for some of these. But that’s odd as it’s only some – other sequences are very obviously 100% for real, most notably a shower scene under a conveniently-warm waterfall that is both far too long, and not long enough, if you see what I mean. The scene appears on the sleeve of one British edition, with a little bra and panties painted onto her, which is kinda sweet. [I also don’t recall there being quite so much skin in that version…oh, dear, looks like I’ve just found an excuse to watch the film once more.] Moments like this are what provide the film with a reason for existing, crucial since we are left with no reason to care about the characters in the slightest.

So, where are the perpetrators of this waste of celluloid to be found now? Phoebe, as you should know, had a fine career, and made some 20-odd movies before retiring to becomes Mrs. Kevin Kline. Sadly, she was never again quite as revealing as here, save for one glorious moment in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. The director went on to do Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III – presumably, the one in which the turtles throw off their shells and frolic in the surf – while Willie Aames…

Ah, yes, Willie Aames. I was going to say that he vanished into obscurity, reaching the dizzy heights of voicing one of the characters in the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon show. But the story doesn’t end there. After a John Belushi-style binge, he found God, and he can now be seen playing Christian superhero Bibleman in a range of videos (click on the picture on the right for a beautifully straight-faced news story about him), as well as touring the States in a bizarre-sounding live shows designed to brainwash kids into accepting Christ as their Lord and Saviour. There’s something oddly satisfying about the way he has gone from playing the son of a preacher in a weird movie, to being a weird preacher himself.

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