It Had to Happen Dept.


A movie critic publishes a film-wonk defense of Gigli.

NEXT: Crippling Lawsuits

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Shouldn’t that be a “film-wanker” defense?

  2. From the same critic: “How much more gratifying, then, that over the last five years, starting with Empire of the Sun, Spielberg has been embarked on a rapid, if largely unheeded, rise to artistic maturity, an ascension that reached its culmination in Hook. Here, for the first time, Spielberg pulled together the many different thematic strands, visual motifs, and character types that had been haphazardly scattered through his first 15 years of work, and patterned them into a rich, coherent whole. He came to terms with the nature of his material in a profound way and produced a work of astonishing beauty and eloquent resonance. With Hook, Spielberg establishes himself not just as a mere commercial force but as a major artistic personality and a legitimate aspirant to greatness.”

  3. Hey, I love Hook.


  4. With Hook, Spielberg establishes himself not just as a mere commercial force but as a major artistic personality and a legitimate aspirant to greatness

    WOW, you know… just… I can’t… wow.


  5. Laugh on, but I plan on visiting in the future. It takes a special kind of man to continue holding up the auteurist banner at this late date. To refer to Gigli as a Martin Brest picture (with the only nod to Ben and Jen being a note that Brest is “not well served” by his stars) is a stroke of genius on the order of calling Ghostbusters an Ernie Hudson picture.

    I love seeing this kind of post-good-or-bad criticism. In Tom Carson’s Gilligan’s Wake, a book I recommend highly, Mary-Ann has a Breathless-type affair with Jean-Luc Godard, who is obsessed with a beach-and-ukulele programmer called Every Girl Is an Island. Godard writes a Cahiers review hailing it as a masterpiece of artistic subtlety and elemental simplicity that revises both the Old Testament and Descartes, a brilliant subversion of Hollywood formula. Immediately after he writes his review, the theater announces that they accidentally showed the film without its final reel, so the boldly experimental ending Godard thought he saw was actually just a prelude to a completely conventional genre finale, which the enraged Godard thinks must have been forced on the auteur by the studio. Mary-Ann consoles her boyfriend by saying that the movie is a travesty, but what he wrote is still true.

  6. Its quite obvious this guy is a Terrorist! He seems quite capable of seducing the common American into paying a high price and wasting time to see an agonizingly, painfully bad movie. Someone suspend his credentials!

  7. You have to admit, it was a niche waiting to be filled. The general critical piling-on the film received was SO overwhelming and unanimous that it was obvious most of it had little to do with the actual film. I mean seriously, this thing was suddenly topping “worst of all time” lists left and right. I’m sure it’s not a GOOD film (from what I’ve read is seems likely to fall into the low-mediocre range), but could it really qualify as “worst ever”? There have been some very, very bad movies made… No, this was just a case of “kill yr idols” writ large, punish the Bennifer for being so goddamned famous and omnipresent. And of course this conversely creates a space for someone like Sheehan to grab a bit of spotlight by playing the iconoclast and actually (in the sense that he does, at least)praising the thing.

  8. Ebert had a half-positive review of gigli

  9. Ebert never says anything bad about Ben Affleck’s movies, or points out that Affleck is the worst actor in Hollywood during his reviews of them.

  10. Affleck was outstanding in “Dogma.”

  11. Short of seeing Gigli (and please don’t make me), I’m not sure what to make of this. I mean, I thought Punch Drunk Love was below-average Paul Anderson with some great set pieces, but for most of the moviegoers who saw it it was simply “the worst Adam Sandler movie ever”.

    Maybe Gigli would have been received differently if it had been filmed in the Basquelands, marketed as an art film and shown with subtitles. Except there’s that Hook thing. Christ.

  12. Affleck in Dogma? Ehhh, I rather liked Alan Rickman’s role better.

  13. Jean,
    Dogma was indeed a great film. However, Ben’s contribution, dispite the number of lines and screentime, was lame. Everybody else in the flick brought more to the party than he did.

    Best line:”Our last two days on earth! If I had a dick I’d go get laid…”

  14. It’s not just the critics who hate Gigli. Over at the IMDB, it’s #1 in the bottom 100 of all time. Currently rated a 1.5/10 (1.4/10 on the slightly differently computed score on the bottom 100 list).

    My guess is that it’s one of those unforgetably bad movies… you know, there bad movies that you forget two minutes after watching them, then there are bad movies that stick with you for a long time. The forgetable ones might be objectively of lower quality, but the memorable ones are more irritating.


  15. I’m convinced that Hollywood has Ebert in its pocket. Ebert rarely says anything bad about any movie. I read a list of about two dozen movie critics’ reviews of Gigli. Every one of them gave it a D or an F. Ebert gave it a B-minus.

  16. Those IMDB rankings fluctuate over time. Gigli may have been bad, but is it really worse than Plan 9 From Outer Space? Or Cool as Ice? Or the numerous films on the “worst of list that were fatured on MST3K, such as Manos, the Hands of Fate? Considering how poorly it did at the theater, I doubt half the people rated the movie as the “worst ever” even saw it.

    Criti-cute is right, this is more of a piling-on due to everyone being sick of the ubiqituous presence of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. I’m sure the movie’s bad, but I doubt it’s the worst movie of all time.

  17. So Ricki and Gigli are “narcissitic”? Hmmmm, I guess that means Affleck and Lopez are character actors.

    If Brest REALLY wanted to make the film “dark,” he should have heeded the suggestions of those focus groups who wanted the two stars to die in a “hammer party.”

  18. What are you talking about, Brad? Ebert gives bad reviews all the time.

  19. The movie is bad, which I know given the fact that I have not seen it.

    Go ahead, try and defeat that iron-clad logic!

  20. EMAIL:
    DATE: 01/26/2004 12:58:15
    The professor makes the syllabus, not you.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.