FilmJerk Favorites

A group of unique directors and the essential works that you've got to see.

||| Sergio Leone |||
Sergio Leone

Leone’s career is remarkable in its unrelenting attention to both American culture and the American genre film, exploring the mythic America he created with each successive film examining the established characters in greater depth.

Only his second feature (a remake of Kurosawa’s Yojimbo), Leone's landmark "spaghetti western" caused a revolution and features Clint Eastwood in his breakthrough role as "The Man With No Name". This classic brutal drama of feuding families wasn’t the first spaghetti Western, but it was far and away the most successful up to that time.

Plot is of minimal interest, but character is everything to Leone, who places immense meaning in the slightest flick of an eyelid, extensively using the extreme close-up on the eyes to reveal any feeling, as demonstrated by Clint, who squints his way through this slam-bang sequel to A Fistful of Dollars as a wandering gunslinger that must combine forces with his nemesis to track down a wanted killer.

The final chapter in the groundbreaking trilogy follows Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach as they form an uneasy alliance to find a stash of hidden gold. Leone focuses on his central theme as they find themselves facing greed, treachery, and murder, showing that the desire for wealth and power turns men into ruthless creatures who violate land and family and believe that a man’s death is less important than how he faces it.

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Whole Ten Yards, The

By BrianOrndorf

April 8th, 2004

If "The Whole Nine Yards” was up your alley, there’s really no reason to skip “The Whole Ten Yards.” It shares everything with the 2000 original film, including the absence of laughs, the ocean of slapstick, and the two leads (Matthew Perry and Bruce Willis) hamming it up as if their lives depended on it.


When the evil Lazlo Gogolak (Kevin Pollack) desires payback for the murder of his son, he orders Cynthia Oseransky (Natasha Henstridge) kidnapped by his goons, hoping that her husband, hapless dentist Oz (Matthew Perry), will lead him to his ultimate goal: notorious hitman, Jimmy “The Tulip” Tudeski (Bruce Willis). When Oz travels down to Mexico to retrieve the presumed-dead Jimmy and fellow killer/wife, Jill (Amanda Peet), Oz gets caught up in their domestic drama instead, which interferes with the whole “wife kidnapped and about to die” situation.

Sure, there have been sequels that nobody asked for. But “Whole Ten Yards” is a sequel that LITERALLY no one asked for. A follow-up to “The Whole Nine Yards,” a medium hit (at best) from 2000, “Ten Yards” is simply more of the same. Except this time, in place of the R-rated Amanda Peet topless scene, we get the PG-13 Amanda Peet topless scene: photographed FROM BEHIND. That’s 4 years of progress in action.

The two ”Yards” films are rooted in a type of frantic slapstick comedy that always seems to spin wildly out of control, even when the jokes are working. “Ten Yards” isn’t as precisely paced as its forefather, or, frankly, as carefully thought out. “Ten Yards” is a mess, but an honest mess, and like the original, the cast looks like they’re having a blast making it, or making it up as they go, as witnessed in many scenes. “10 Yards” is the same slapsticky material, trusting heavily in Mathew Perry’s flopping abilities and Bruce Willis’s willingness to lampoon his tough guy persona. The comedy is encased in an action film shell, with various shoot-outs and murders to go along with the yucks. “Nine Yards” had the benefit of the R-rating, which always allows a little more leeway in dealing with this kind of morally tricky material; however, “Ten Yards” has been brought down to a more universally consumable PG-13, which means that any hint of darkness in the story has been replaced by pratfalls and fart jokes. Not an ideal trade off.

Because the cast is having so much fun, it’s hard to blame them when the film becomes almost persistently unfunny. Willis, Peet, and Perry work well together, achieving a nice fluid triangle of interplay that only comes from workplace comfort. Whenever the film gets into real trouble, director Howard Deutch simply instructs Perry to careen into a door or a wall for laughs, but that was already exhausted in the previous installment. Perry is funny here simply screwing around with line delivery, often making fun of the other actors, which is pretty much the only hint of originality in the picture, with everything else coasting brazenly on previously laid charms.

Basically it all comes down to whether “Nine Yards” rubbed you raw. If it didn’t, by all means, you’ll have a blast goofin’ around with Jimmy and Oz for another go-around. If you didn’t enjoy the original, there’s nothing here to recommend heading another “Yard” forward.

My rating: D+