Sexy Cineplexy: Reviews

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(directed by Sydney Pollack, 1982)

I felt like watching Tootsie tonight and that's exactly what I did. I've seen it a couple of times before, but the last time was about two years ago. Dustin Hoffman stars as Michael Dorsey, an angry, brass, unemployed actor who can't get an acting gig in New York, whose agent (played by Sydney Pollack, the director) won't help him along with his career and who can't find a woman to call his own. When his depressed, suicidal friend, Sandy (Teri Garr) gets rejected for the role of a tough cookie hospital administrator on the famous soap opera, Southwest General, Michael, fueled by pride and the passion to show his agent that he can work as an actor again, dresses up like a woman and auditions for the hospital administrator role. He gets it -- and suddenly, his alter ego, Dorothy Michaels, is a hot soap opera star that everyone loves for her fierce, feminist attitude. But the journey through stardom doesn't come easy for Michael as he's forced to keep Dorothy's true identity a secret, even when it means lying to his sexy co-star that he's attracted to and is becoming close friends with as Dorothy.

Tootsie is a very easy and gentle watch, though it's filled with tense subject matter. The movie is basically a reflection on working hard and struggling and how difficult it can be to attain something that you want in life. The character of Michael Dorsey wants two things: serious work as an actor and a beautiful woman to love and call his own. Unfortunately for him, his personality clashes with too many people and he's not getting a foot in the door. However, when he dons the Dorothy costume and becomes a woman, he's suddenly got everything -- but lies don't play out the right way.

This is a very funny movie. There are tons of laughs all thanks to the embarrassment we know Michael Dorsey is going through as he walks around pretending to be a woman. Donning a southern accent to create Dorothy Michaels, Dustin Hoffman has never been funnier and more intriguing. Jessica Lange, who plays Julie, the nurse on Southwest General that Michael befriends and falls in love with, was a great character and had terrific chemistry with Dustin Hoffman. Teri Garr was kind of annoying, but she did well with her role. George Gaynes was hysterical as a foolish lecher that played a doctor on the soap opera. Bill Murray is in it as Michael's friend and roommate. Sydney Pollack did a great job as Michael's agent, George Fields. This is a classic, timeless motion picture. I really can't think of anything negative to say about it.

Wait, yes I can -- you're telling me Dorothy Michaels met up with Andy Warhol for a photoshoot, still keeping her true identity a total secret from everyone, and Andy couldn't tell that was a man in drag and thus give away her secret? I doubt it very much. I know the part with Andy Warhol was for a quick montage scene, but still.

By the way, I was inspired to watch Tootsie after hearing about a certain person around here that's attracted to Dustin Hoffman with boobs. You know who you are and you better positive rep me!

Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Tootsie is a great little film. Only saw it for the first time late last year.

Hellraiser IV: Bloodline
(directed by "Alan Smithee" - really Kevin Yagher and Joe Chappelle, 1996)

Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (known more commonly as just Hellraiser: Bloodline) requires the strengths and story components from the previous Hellraiser movies to construct an 80-minute editing and reshoot mess that turned an ambitious project for a horror sequel into an incoherent and sloppy freakshow that spans three different centuries, one in which puts the monster Pinhead into outer space. To fully get this film, you have to be aware of what happened in previous Hellraiser films, although the stories from those movies don't matter at all. You needed to have seen it all, though, for horrific events occur in this movie which might seem random and silly unless you know why it's happened before.

Pinhead, which in my opinion is an iconic horror figure on the same level as Dracula or Frankenstein or Freddy Krueger, is what's called a "cenobite" -- a demon that resides in hell and works with a group of other cenobites, although he is their leader. There is this thing called a puzzlebox that people play with and it opens a gateway to hell which allows cenobites to come to them. Often the puzzlebox has hooks and chains shooting out of the box and attaching themselves to your body. In the previous Hellraiser films, we saw how this baby worked and we even explored Hell itself and saw that cenobites were once human and became cenobites -- disfigured people/creatures that have their skin badly reconstructed into something that looks painful and torturous, that wear leather outfits and whatnot -- we know they start off human and can be transformed into these things.

Hellraiser: Bloodline is basically a movie told in flashbacks. An engineer who built a space station in the year 2127 and who is using it for purposes nobody understands is arrested and interrogated by a woman who learns that he is a descendant of a man named Phillip LeMerchand, a French toymaker that designed the puzzlebox that opens the gateway to Hell. He did this without knowing what he was getting into, as he was commissioned by an evil magician intent on summing a demon, which he does by skinning a woman, speaking an incantation and letting the demon take over the woman's skin. He calls her Angelique and she ends up being a sort of Pre-Pinhead in the 18th century. Skipping ahead to the year 1996, we find Angelique still around and learning that the toymaker's bloodline is still around. A brilliant architect in New York obsessed by dreams involving the puzzlebox, which have been carried through his family by blood, he ends up meeting Angelique and later Pinhead, both who want to use his talents for creating a gateway to Hell that will open even wider in the world than what the smaller puzzleboxes can do. After this segment, we cut back to the 2127 period in space with the latest descendent of the toymaker -- all of these guys are played by actor Bruce Ramsey.

Sound complicated for an 80 minute film, yet? Despite the unique storyline, intended to be one of those "final" films of a horror series, meant to kill Pinhead off forever, the movie studio intervened and Hellraiser: Bloodline became nothing more than a freakshow slasher film, with people dying in strange ways or being turned into cenobites and demons. The final sequence in space is nothing but Pinhead and his cenobite clan dispatching the officers who have come to arrest the guy who built the space station.

I used to LOVE this movie when I was a teenager, but now I think it's rather slow and boring. Still, I love the concept of Hellraiser doing a movie that takes place in three separate time periods and I love Pinhead in outer space on board a space station. I enjoy the cheesy acting of Bruce Ramsey, which actually seems pretty passionate for what it's worth. I enjoy the French demon woman, Angelique, who confidently seduces and destroys men in her path. There's a lot of bizarre, surreal imagery and a lot of fun moments -- there's even a pair of siamese twin cenobites and even a growling dog cenobite that has chattering teeth and eats pigeons. I also appreciate the hilarious idea of having the evil puzzlebox being opened by use of a robot and remote control gloves so that a person doesn't have to be harmed by it. This was also the last, good Hellraiser film as the sequels afterwards were direct-to-video and totally lacking in most of the strange and sick elements that gave the first four Hellraiser films power, originality and twisted beauty.

This, to me, is a timeless bad movie.

Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
I wish I could get you to watch a movie once in awhile. I don't think I'm responsible for Tootsie althogh I did "review" it recently. However, there is an even older Hoffman film which you showed an interest in because I showed him naked in a bathtub with Faye Dunaway sticking her arm down in there cleaning away. It was Little Big Man and maybe you can watch it soon. It was directed by the guy who did your recent fave The Missouri Breaks but I think it's much, much better. (That's right, Brodinski, if you're lurking around here. HA!)
It's what you learn after you know it all that counts. - John Wooden
My IMDb page

Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
I'd certainly echo Mark's recommendation of Little Big Man. It was his love for it that encouraged me to watch it and I'm very thankful for that. Wonderful film

The Sum of Us
(directed by Geoff Burton and Kevin Dowling, 1994)

**** Movie Picked by NEBBIT ****

Dear Nebbit, I liked this movie but I'm sorry to say I found it too sappy and honestly, rather boring until about the last half hour. Stunningly sexy and young Russell Crowe plays a 24 year old bloke living in Sydney, Australia with his funny, talkative and extremely supportive father, played by Jack Thompson. Russell's character, Jeff, is gay and single, though he did have a longtime boyfriend for awhile in the past. The father, Harry, is a widower and, like I said, is extremely supportive of Jeff, in part because Harry's mother was a lesbian who had a female lover named Mary for forty years and OH. MY. GOD. I got to sick to death over hearing about Jeff's lesbian grandmothers! Constantly, this movie was flashing back to the past to show us these two old lesbians in bed together or something. Frankly, I just wasn't that interested. I wanted to take a high caliber rifle to those lesbian grandmothers.

Anyway, the movie deals with this dad & gay son duo as they search for love while dealing with the complication of always being around each other. Jeff brings a guy home but it doesn't work out because Harry barges into his room right before they're about to have sex. Later, a woman that Harry starts dating deals with the shock that Harry's son is gay and Harry keeps gay porno magazines lying around the house for Jeff. This father and son are a little too close and shockingly, the movie takes a turn by the end that says to me that separation between the two of them isn't likely to happen anytime soon.

One of the devices that this movie employs excessively is the use of characters breaking the third wall and talking to the audience. The Sum of Us is based on a play by David Stevens and although I never saw it, I assume it also broke the third wall a lot. I was not impressed. Since there's not many characters in this movie to begin with, it's almost like those of us watching the movie are characters, too -- being spoken to and being a part of the movie. Well, I didn't want to be a part of the movie. I thought this device ruined a lot of realism and kept the pace slow and boring. At one point, even a character who can't speak because of a stroke breaks the third wall and comes out of the stroke just to give us a little chat. It's like watching a cartoon. Thought bubbles are everywhere. It's a complete bubble bath of thought bubbles. This bath isn't so bad when you're taking it with Russell Crowe in those tight shorts he wears a lot (although, in a bath, those better be off), but the sad thing is Russell's looks help this movie a lot -- if an unattractive guy had played Jeff, I don't think I would have been able to get through this movie.

There's not much else to say. Nebbit, I'm sorry, but I could have left this one alone. I'll make sure to check out that other movie you recommended sometime. The Sum of Us is just too sappy, too melodramatic and too uninteresting, though I liked how light and easy it all seemed. I dunno... it seems like a good movie for someone who might be coming out of the closet and dealing with issues like letting your parents know you're gay or something, but to me, this material was just old and dated. It was very 1994, though, which was a big year for Australian gay films -- Priscilla, Queen of the Desert came out that year. There must have been something about 1994 and gay movies, especially in Australia. Lots of rainbows in the Australian sky that year, for sure.

I don't recommend this movie, but it was cute seeing Russell Crowe play a homosexual.

Walking and Talking
(directed by Nicole Holofcener, 1996)

Walking and Talking is 1990's indie film gold starring Catherine Keener as Amelia, a woman who's going through a semi-jarring period in her young, romantic life. Her lifelong best friend, Laura (Anne Heche) is getting married to Frank (Todd Field), a costume jewelry designer; her ex-boyfriend-turned-friend Andrew (Liev Schreiber) is obsessed with watching pornographic movies and having phone sex with a strange woman in California called Virginia; she's also dating an ugly, geeky guy who has a passion for horror movies and special effects makeup that works at the local video store. Oh, and did I mention that her 14 year old cat gets diagnosed with brain cancer?

Catherine Keener shines like she's never shined before (at least, as far as I know) in Walking and Talking. She plays one of those lonely, needy best friend types, the ones that call you all the time, tell you everything that's on their mind, has a pet for a companion and is always looking for love but can't find it. Meanwhile, her best friend has got it all, and of course, isn't very appreciative of it. Anne Heche's character, Laura, is a therapist that's finding herself attracted to other men, including a sexy patient, despite having a man already -- although, what is the story with her man, anyway? Could he possibly be gay or maybe inflicted with a disease? You'll have to watch and see, but what I can tell you is that Anne Heche's character is a complete bitch. I thought she needed a good slap to the face or two. She's not being very nice to her fiancée. She acts like a goofy teenager who can't control herself at times. But I wouldn't say Anne Heche's character is a total loss - I didn't hate her - but she needs more than a hilarious, horrible beauty makeover, which she does receive at one point.

The most delightful character is Andrew, played by Liev Schreiber in his early career days when he was an indie film regular. He and Catherine Keener have good chemistry together and he even tries on some sexy tight black pants for her while going shirtless. Adorable, hairy and curly haired, Andrew lights up many scenes discussing his father, who has Alzheimer's, or just by letting us know that he's only a phone call away, provided he's not already on the line masturbating to women he's never met. Now, going back to chemistry, I didn't think Catherine Keener and Anne Heche really had much going on with each other. Separately, they seemed alright, but unless it was just the script's fault, these two didn't have much going for them in scenes where they were alone together.

The movie focuses and puts its heart most of all where Catherine Keener's Amelia character is going in life, especially romantically. She has had a lot of boyfriends, but nobody's been as close to her as Andrew, it seems. When she starts dating The Ugly Guy at the video store (Kevin Corrigan, Pineapple Express and other movies), all is going well, although it seems like Amelia's in an odd place with him -- he takes her to some kind of horror movie convention that's filled with prowling geeks. Trouble brews, though, when Laura telephones Amelia at her house during date night and The Ugly Guy hears Laura saying over the answering machine, "How's your date with the guy you call The Ugly Guy?" Amelia, who's out of the room during this moment, has no idea what's happened and why The Ugly Guy is suddenly distancing himself from her.

I will not reveal how it ends, although I will say that it sort of confused me. After the journey we've been on with Amelia, while also seeing what's going on in Laura's life, it didn't exactly seem right to me that the movie would end on a note saying this was more of a best friend movie between Amelia and Laura. I thought that Amelia's role definitely had more weight and frankly, I just wasn't really in love with Laura by the end of this movie. Catherine Keener shined here -- Anne Heche needed shoe polish. Hopefully, she won't eat it, though, or she'll be back in the mental hospital. Her character, Laura, was a poophead.

However, the mysteries of Anne Heche will have to be saved for another day, including why she dated Ellen and why she's always got decent men attracted to her - although, I have no idea where she's at these days. This is a movie to be watched for Catherine Keener and Liev Schreiber. This is a feel good movie about young adults who've dealt with each other for awhile. I liked it a lot and I recommend it.

The Spirit Molecule
(directed by Mitch Schultze, 2010)

The Spirit Molecule is a 75 minute documentary examining a psychedelic that's found in all humans and some plants and animals -- DMT -- Dimethyltryptamine -- a psychedelic many consider the gateway to God, a gateway to the spiritual realms, a drug that allows you to discover the truth about reality, a drug that exposes the soul of who you are. Taking DMT is supposed to feel like a bungee jump into the center of the universe, out of your body -- people describe it as being like death.

It is an illegal drug, of course, but a psychiatrist, Dr. Rick Strassman, has studied it professionally and has used many human volunteers to take DMT and give their accounts of their experiences. The experiences don't last long as DMT is broken down by the body fast, although it can be turned into a drink called ayahuasca that is supposed to allow you to experience DMT's effects for hours. Anyway, the documentary starts off discussing how this is made and then we also go into detail about the 1960's and how studying psychedelics has always been frowned upon, and then we get into Dr. Strassman's study.

There is an unattractive male shaman that volunteered for Dr. Strassman's study, as well as a woman who is a writer, and there's also the nurse that aided Dr. Strassman in his research, which was done at a hospital in New Mexico. We learn that DMT basically made these people much more spiritual, although one woman said she still doesn't believe in God. I'm not sure if she was a volunteer of the study, though - however - most of the people, if not all of the people, in this documentary has tried DMT.

I have never taken DMT. I'm not sure that I'd want to. It sounds scary as hell. It would be fascinating to experience what these people apparently saw, though. Apparently, once you've taken it, you get all hot and you hear a loud humming sound until eventually the humming overtakes your mind and you get lost in the trippy world of DMT. You lose yourself, you lose the perception of time, you become something other than human and supposedly you go to spiritual realms. A lot of people have witnessed other beings, creatures, angels, aliens, Genyav, you name it. All sorts of things that don't make sense. I think it was the ugly shaman guy that said he experienced 10,000 years of living in 15 minutes -- right, yeah, like impatient me is gonna be able to handle that. How do you stay sane after something like that?

I'm not really sure if these people have really experienced spiritual realms. It's certainly very fascinating and I cannot rule it out. I would rather hear about these things from a scientific standpoint rather than reading The Bible and listening to Christianity or something else. But these people who've tried DMT aren't coming back and revealing significent, life changing details about life and the universe and where we came from, where we're going, etc. One woman went to a realm and apparently it was like a place where souls all met up before going into life, etc. Intriguing, but yet there's not a lot of information. Maybe it's impossible to get a lot, but why? I don't know. Of course it could all be physical in nature -- phenonema of the brain -- but The Spirit Molecule largely shies away from that explanation and favors the belief that these people are taking DMT and really are having spiritual experiences.

The documentary moves at a brisk pace if you really focus on what they say -- it's kind of interesting. If you're familiar with this subject matter - I already was a little because I own the book the documentary is based on, DMT: The Spiritual Molecule by Dr. Rick Strassman, published in 2000 - you might not get much out of it. There are more DMT volunteers in the book than in the movie and it's more much interesting and varied in the book. Dr. Strassman and his volunteers were not the only talking heads in this movie - there were other people as well, although I can't quite remember what they were, they were kinda boring and insignificant - sorry, druggies. The style of the documentary is rather bland - it's talking head followed by trippy graphic of your reality breaking apart and forming fractals and things in the universe, followed by another talking head, so on and so on. Joe Rogan, the comedian, is the host, and he appears in brief black & white filmed segments every so often - nothing special.

I recommend The Spirit Molecule if you want a little teaser to this peculiar little chemical, however, I think you could learn more through various Youtube videos on the subject - often hosted again by Joe Rogan, who seems to be the DMT guru. There is also the book I mentioned. But the documentary itself is mainly a visual aid that lets you see some of the important people in this research. It could have been better.

Barney's Version
(directed by Richard J. Lewis, 2010)

Boy, if your name's Barney, you're in trouble. Barney Rubble, Barney Fife, Barney Gumble from The Simpsons, Barney the god damned dinosaur... now there's Barney Panofsky, played by Paul Giamatti. This guy can't catch a break.

First of all, this movie should be shown to every doctor specializing in castration. The funny thing is I thought of that before there's an actual scene where Barney and Miriam (Rosamund Pike) discuss Barney as a eunuch. This is a movie about a real piece of crap. I thought it was gonna be about a bunch of guy characters who were crap, but it turned out to be mainly about one big piece of crap. Barney Panofsky, on his wedding day -- and this was some wedding, too. He was getting married to a rich Jewish girl who had a lot of money. This was a really fun, great wedding scene -- anyway, he meets this Miriam woman that night and he tries to run away with her on a train. Totally leaving his new bride! He doesn't though because Miriam turns him down, but he would have done it.

Miriam actually turns out to be the love of Barney's life -- I think. She's actually his third wife -- when she becomes his third wife. Barney's Version is basically the life story of Barney Panofsky, a Jewish guy from Montreal who has a cop father (also a lover of the ladies) played by Dustin Hoffman. Barney is a television producer for Totally Unnecessary Productions, which makes bad shows and soaps. His first wife, who we get to see, is a real mess that commits suicide. Barney is also later involved in the mystery of someone close to him who may be dead, which I thought was gonna be the main storyline for this film at first since it was brought up in a big way in the beginning, but that wasn't the case. But ultimately, Barney's Version is nothing more than the biography of a real schmuck.

I liked Barney's Version a lot -- however -- the end of the movie focuses on Barney getting Alzheimer's Disease and this to me was handled incorrectly, I thought - and not just because of the Alzheimer's. Everything was suddenly getting a bit melodramatic - not that it wasn't before, but I thought everything still fit together in a sort of darkly humored, sarcastic way as handled by Barney, who plays hardball with life and doesn't really have time for crying and stressing out. The ending to Barney's Version plays like Forrest Gump, in its own way. Everything that came before the ending was great, but the ending to this movie really rubbed me the wrong way, for various complex reasons. First of all, I noticed that the movie plays in a way where you can see things coming - that they hint at twists the movie will play out. It gets to be tedious and the ending even works like this. There's something not so fluid about it, something that makes it all paint-by-numbers. To discuss it all completely would give away some surprises the film has, but a large portion of this movie felt very smart and even grand and then all of a sudden Barney's Version took a look at Medusa and turned to stone.

I will say this - I loved the character of Barney. He was a complete ******* but by the end of the movie, I was heartbroken for him. I also loved the character of his father played by Dustin Hoffman. They were a great father and son team -- this could almost be an excellent father & son movie but unfortunately some of the blinds have been drawn and the sunlight can't get in. The closest thing it comes to is a vivid portrait of a sad sap's life, of a grotesque animalistic man's life. But it's given a klutzy treatment by the end.

I would have liked to have seen another version of Barney's Version. The movie ends depressingly and I don't think it's right. Apparently there is a novel this is based on, but I have no idea how it goes. I think Barney deserved something else, even if it was bad. I think the movie ended on a note that wasn't his style. Barney's Version is fun, zesty, entertaining and rude -- a good cinematic treat, but it's missing an aftertaste and it so desperately needs one.

Is white trash beautiful
I have wanted to see this film for awhile, just haven't gotten around to it,I definitely wanna check It out now. Thanks

will.15's Avatar
Semper Fooey
Barney Google (with the goo-goo googly eyes).
It reminds me of a toilet paper on the trees
- Paula

(directed by Oliver Stone, 1986)

I just watched Platoon -- first time in my life. Out of all of the war movies I have ever seen (which is not many), Platoon is now my favorite. I tell ya, I was skeptical that it would even do anything for me, but I knew right away that it was going to do plenty. This was not the best experience I've ever had with a movie, but it certainly took me to a whole new level. I thought Platoon was deeply poetic, very intense and very brilliant.

I haven't seen many Oliver Stone movies, either, and I always sort of figured he wasn't for me. World Trade Center and even Natural Born Killers (which I haven't seen in years, though) did nothing for me. But his Platoon is beautiful. Charlie Sheen was beautiful and definitely monumental in this film. The tiger blood was pumping at full force. Willem Dafoe, Tom Berenger, John C. McGinley, Forest Whitaker and several other guys whose names I'm not sure of were also memorable and powerful.

The movie concerns a bunch of young guys in the Vietnam war in 1968. It is not really plot heavy, it is just various experiences that these guys have as they travel about Vietnam, dealing with war, death, fighting, corpses, the Vietnamese people, bugs, bossy sergeants, you name it. Charlie Sheen plays a more sensitive soldier, but he soon unleashes that tiger blood.

Although my mind may have wandered during some less intense moments, I am ecstatic to say that for the most part, Platoon is not boring. Platoon kicked ass and delivered many powerful moments that will rock your emotions. You get to see anger here like nothing else. You see savagery, cruelty, dominance, hate, frustration, annoyance and people who think they're Gods. You also see a lot of love and spiritual kinship.

Platoon speeds by at a reasonable two hours -- Thank God it's not some longass three hour movie or something. Although, I bet it still could have been good at that length. So, get yourself in your foxhole, turn off your walkie talkie, throw a grenade at your kids or whoever might interrupt you and turn on Platoon -- THAT'S AN ORDER!

I love Platoon, so I'm pleased to see that you enjoyed it too, SC. Stone's also one of my favourite directors, so I suggest more Stone in your movie diet.

Little Big Man
(directed by Arthur Penn, 1970)

*** The Great Spirit told Mark F to tell me to watch this. ***

Little Big Man scared me half to death when it began because I thought the old, scary Grandpa from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) had been cast in this movie. It was actually, I guess, Dustin Hoffman in a ton of makeup portraying his character, Jack Crabb, AKA "Little Big Man", at 121 years old and it is here that he begins recounting his life to a historian.

Following the death of his parents from a wagon train massacre, young Jack and his sister Caroline are found and saved by a Cheyenne Indian and taken back to their village. Caroline fears rape, but alas, it takes the Indians awhile to figure out she's a woman because she's so damned ugly. She escapes them anyway and later we meet up with her again when she's turned into a possible lesbian gunslinger. But Jack gets raised by the Cheyenne Indians and becomes one of them. He gets especially close to the leader, whom he calls Grandfather, and this character follows him throughout the whole movie, although Jack doesn't always hang out with the Indians. Things happen and at times he's getting bathed by Faye Dunaway as Louise Pendry, or he's acting tough with Wild Bill Hickok, or he's traveling around with a snake oil salesman or he's working for General George Armstrong Custer, who becomes a big enemy of his.

The real heart and soul of the movie, though, is with the Cheyenne Indians and it is especially brought to life thanks to the Grandfather character, played by Chief Dan George. I tell ya, this movie made me hate white people. Yes -- and I am white myself. I turned racist against my own people. We are so bad. We kill and kill and kill. We don't believe anything is alive. We want everything dead. That's what Grandfather says and lemme tell ya, I believe Grandfather.

The Cheyenne Indians were also funny because they practice polygamy and they are very accepting of flamboyantly gay Indians among them -- which didn't surprise me, I remember hearing about that in Transamerica. There's a great scene in which Dustin Hoffman goes from Indian Woman to Indian Woman to impregnate them since the white man had killed their kids from other men. We get to see Dustin Hoffman's ass while he's dressed in Indian clothes -- I got a new fantasy out of that scene.

But let's get down to business - what did I really think of it? Well, I thought it was a spellbinding movie. Although, there were times when the spell almost slipped -- but things soon picked up. The first hour of the movie had my least favorite parts -- mainly when Little Big Man was living in the white world and having all kinds of crazy experiences there, like marrying a fussy Swedish woman named Olga that likes sleeping. The second hour of the movie was a lot better and really sealed the deal for the rating I will bestow upon this movie:

The Cheyenne Indian scenes really gave this movie a lot of power. I'm glad they weren't underused, I'm glad he kept finding them and I'm glad they didn't kill off Grandfather early and that he managed to stick around for the whole film. This is a very amusing and very heartfelt film and Dustin Hoffman does some terrific acting, as usual. I had never heard of this film before until recently and I'm glad that Mark F recommended it to me -- too bad the movie I gave him to watch is gonna give him nightmares. But, what can you do? We live for The Great Spirit.

A Man Called Horse
(directed by Elliot Silverstein, 1970)

Wouldn't you know it? Right after watching Little Big Man, I discover another Native American movie also from the year 1970 -- A Man Called Horse -- an intriguing little film that was just released on Blu-ray.

Richard Harris stars as John Morgan, a British noble living in the 1800's that is kidnapped one day by the Sioux Indians and forced to become the slave of Buffalo Cow Head (Dame Judith Anderson), a really ugly, really old Native American mother of Chief Yellow Hand (Manu Tupou). I should probably note that John is kidnapped while swimming naked, so he rans around bare assed a lot. I liked that. Anyway, Cow Head, and most of the other Indians, are barely understandable when they talk -- I felt like I was watching a foreign movie. He does, however, manage to befriend a strange, funny guy called Batise (Jean Gascon), who was taken by these Indians five years earlier. For some reason, based on looks and personality, Batise reminded me of Robin Williams -- especially Robin Williams when he was dressed up like this in Mrs. Doubtfire:

Shockingly, John gets used to living with the Indians and he even comes to admire and respect them. He also eventually takes a bride. I wouldn't have adjusted well to this situation at all (obviously, I wouldn't take a bride) -- first of all, I did not like these Indians for a good while -- I mean, they had killed the people John was with the day he got kidnapped. They were looking for some free horses, you see. So, I was thinking this movie was portraying Native Americans in a very bad light, unlike Little Big Man, in which the Native Americans were jolly and humorous and delightful (but I know that was more of a comedy). This movie is a lot more realistic. I felt completely drawn into this world. I could not understand much of what the Indians were saying, but somehow that helped. When this movie finally ended (at the 2 hour mark), I felt like I had really been there with these Indians.

Anyway, John -- or Horse -- although, I don't recall if he was actually referred to as Horse or not -- anyway, something that he must do, since he's getting married and stuff, is take part in a ritual called The Sun Vow. The Sun Vow requires him to get eagle claws stabbed through his chest while ropes suspended from up above him tie onto these eagle claws and a couple of Indians holding the ropes raise John up to the blazing sun. It looked like something from Hellraiser -- which was pretty cool. There's a great moment where John, being raised and in severe pain, I imagine, seems to dissociate/trip out because of all he's going through and there's a wacky, almost psychedelic scene that if you watched while on peyote would probably have you trippin' balls. A buffalo comes to him because its his spirit animal and tells him to have humility; we see John standing in the wind, fully clothed, until the wind rips all of his clothes off, shedding his old self, I guess. Turning him into a man, a warrior. Later, there's a big fight between John and his tribe and another Indian tribe that's attacking. Buffalo Cow Head, the mother, has a crying spell or two, which she does a lot. Anyway, it was all very moving. It felt brave and exciting.

A Man Called Horse is not without its faults. It does not feature any extremely interesting characters, it almost seems at times to feel like some sort of cheap 1960's Native American knockoff movie that should star actors you'd never see in any other important movie, and at times it is boring and seems to be going nowhere, especially when it's hard to understand what people are saying. But it managed to keep me glued to my seat for two hours without me shutting off the machine and it does have a few powerful, big scenes that don't falter from excellence. There's also some rather hysterical WTF moments -- like there's this part where we're watching, oh I forget what it was exactly, let's say it's just a nature scene, or maybe some Indians riding on horses, and suddenly these two Indian guys' heads pop into frame on both the left and right side and start singing and chanting. Weird, superimposed stuff like that. I laughed at it. It was highly amusing. There's a lot of crazy stuff like that in this and it's almost worth watching for all of that alone. The weird buffalo/spirit animal trippy scene during the crazy ritual is another one. Also, you really just wanna slap Buffalo Cow Head.

Don't pass on A Man Called Horse, but definitely be in the mood for some seriously wacky, yet moving and inspiring, good 1970's Native American cinema. Even more exciting -- Iron Eyes Cody -- the Indian chief from Ernest Goes To Camp -- plays a Medicine Man in this. Look out for that.

I've always liked A Man Called Horse. It's one of those films where not a lot happens, but I enjoy looking at it.

SC, if you're interested, there are two sequels to the film. The Return Of A Man Called Horse (which I don't remember anything about, but do remember liking) and The Triumphs Of A Man Called Horse, which I've not seen. BTW, check out Cheyenne Autumn. I think you'll like it and it'd fit in well with your current watching.

Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
The Great Spirit tells me that for the most part A Man Called Horse and its sequel, The Return of a Man Called Horse, both suck. But then again, if they suck in the right way for you, I can understand that.