Friday, 6 June 2014

IMBd Bottom 100 Review – 082 Another 9½ Weeks

The B100 world is a world of half assed sequels. Hell, it's not even that. It's a world of half assed sequels to movies that were half assed to begin with. Troll 2 is a prime example, and that wasn't even really a sequel, since it had literally nothing to do with Trolls. This part of the movie spectrum is ripe with shitty attempts to cash in on a previous movie's minor success, often with a completely different set of actors and crew, and a total disregard for artistic integrity. For tonight's failure feature, at least, the star came back for seconds. I don't think he understood what that meant. If you haven't already guessed it, we're taking a look at…
A troubled John looks on helplessly, as this movie heads for the hills, screaming.

This one obviously follows the mildly popular Nine ½ Weeks starring the ever lovely, albeit body doubled, Kim Basinger along with Mickey Rourke, who, by all means, was a good looking guy back in the days. He's not anymore. He looks cool, kind of. But not really the same silky smooth pretty boy features he had, before he got the weird idea, that boxing followed by reconstructive surgery upon reconstructive surgery was a good way to advance his career. He's still a very decent actor, in my opinion, so I suppose I'll digress and concede that he still has that going for him. And I'm by no means averse to his roles in movies like Sin City, where he does a helluva job as Marv. But looking back on a movie like Nine ½ Weeks, you just can't help but think: what if he hadn't gone the boxing and surgery way? In any case, it doesn't matter now. We're here to discuss the second installment in the 9½ week duology, made an astounding 11 years hence. Mickey Rourke made quite a few wonky movies in the late 80s and through the nineties, and this one is definitely one of the ones where you can't help but think it was done solely for money. While the first Nine ½ Weeks was a passable movie at best, at least it had a certain quality or ambience to it, that gave it what little charm it did have. And it had Kim Basinger. I haven't watched it in only too many years, and I suspect it will likely remain so, but I remember it was kinds of boring, and pretentiously artsy in a overplayed way. High society New York Art Gallery aficionados who, obviously, enjoy some mild bondage, because that's not cliché at all. No siree. In the second one, the fancy smancy New York settings are substituted by equally fancy smancy Paris settings. Cliché much? Not at all.
British balding gay dude with small sunglasses and a cigarette held casually? Innovative!
The description for the movie claims "John flies over to Paris to find out (sic) his girlfriend Elizabeth". Like I said, I don't honestly remember Nine ½ Weeks to the letter, but going by what little I managed to store in my memory bank, Elizabeth broke up with John by the end of the movie, because he was just a little too obsessive, and she totally didn't go for all his suppressed anger bullshit. Anyway, perhaps John has convinced himself, that they are actually still a couple. It doesn't really even matter, because as he arrives in Paris, through sheer dumb luck (or some other reason I might've overlooked) he runs into Claire, a fashion designer whom he immediately wants to bone feels attracted to. Turns out she even knew Elizabeth, so it's a twofer, for old John Gray. Hmm wait a cotton picking minute here. Gray. Light bondage. Fashionable pseudo-sophisticated settings? Emotionally distant, want to be in control, rich male character? Where have I heard of this before? Oh right, it's pretty much the story of 50 Shades of Grey, the infamous erotic Twillight fan-fic that everybody loves to hate, but many a housewife is secretly reading anyway, to compensate an empty marriage. Yeah OK, glad I got that cleared up. Let's proceed. Christian Grey John Gray gets himself mixed up in all kinds of depraved sordid affairs in Paris, the likes of which would've made Tom Cruise's character in Eyes Wide Shut blush and run home to mommy. Alright that's a lie. Very little actually happens in this movie, and John Gray is only mildly harassed by some street thugs, just as he kicks the ass of some other dude who is harassing his new lady friend's assistant. He also kind of getting funky with her, but then not really anyway. I seem to remember a threesome later on, between John and Claire and assistant chick, so I'm sure he's been sweet talking that little lady too. John kind of maintains throughout the movie, that he's actually still looking for Elizabeth (who obviously doesn't want to be found) and also buying art for... a gallery or personal consumption? It's not clear. I don't know what he's really doing to find her, but it's not much, because surely finding an American lady in the fashion world in Paris should be doable. Right? She's a gallery owner and connoisseur, so she'll be high society, seen and known by many. I don't know. Perhaps I'm just old fashioned.
The mandatory sex-on-the-street-because-that-totally-means-intense-passion scene.
This movie is directed by a woman, which kind of surprised me, because I have this weird idea, that women directors in and around Hollywood have more integrity than the men, because it's harder to get taken seriously as a woman behind the camera than as a man. But I suppose I'm just falling prey to classical gender stereotypes. Hey, I never claimed to be perfect. Not out loud anyway. So it's a woman making this shit, and she did just as bang up of a job, as if it had been a dude, I suspect. The movie is predictably boring and lame. Not predictably lame because of a woman director, but because there was no way to make this script interesting. I do seem to remember, that the story was relatively consistent throughout, which is something of a rarity with these movies. Meaning the script and direction at least had the movie making sense chronologically. It's so easy to fall prey to the old 'let's just put stuff that looks cool in randomly' routine that we see all the time here. Perhaps her female intuition kept her out of that particular trap. Sadly for Another 9½ Weeks, it didn't save the movie from feeling uninspired and boring. The characters feel numb like they are constantly walking around in a daze of some sort. There are plenty of scenes shot in kind of dream like sequences, and it doesn't appear to serve any other purpose, than to emphasize what kind of weird limbo state John Gray is in. It works on a weird level, I suppose, but we just don't give a shit about his quest to find Elizabeth, because it seems like he doesn't either. Like he's just in Paris and if she turns up fine. If not, oh well who cares, he still gets to doink ladies and smoke cigarettes and drink wine.
The mandatory we-in-the-paris-art-scene-totally-go-to-fetish-parties-because-its-hip scene. 
Rourke totally phones his performance in, and you can almost hear his hopes and dreams diminish for every line delivered. The rest of the cast is completely forgettable. Including the female lead character, Agatha de la Fontaine, despite her attempts to stand out. She had, what I can only assume was, a pair of silicon infused breasts, and she looked kind of like Jesse Venture Cindy Crawford. I later found out that she got married to some French footballer (as in soccer) called Emanuel Petit. Not that this has any relevance, but there we are. I didn't ask you for an opinion. She kind of struck me as a porn star trying to cut into the mainstream market by taking small roles in low budget shitty productions like this. I suppose she isn't, or wasn't ever, a pornstar, and I'd apologize to her for insinuating that she was, if I ever got the chance. Thankfully I won't get that chance, because the apology would probably be insincere.
That's a flock of seagulls just waiting to land!
The director chick is called Anne Goursaud and seems to mostly be known for editing quite a few high grade movies. A Jack Nicholson flick here, an Francis Ford Coppola movie there. All in all, she's edited quite a few very well known movies. Her director credits, on the other hand, are a completely different ball game. This movie, a couple of erotic vampire flicks starring Alyssa Milano and some Red Shoe Diaries episodes. I only ever saw one episode of Red Shoe Diaries, so I wonder if… yup. I saw one with David Duchovny (he was in 14 of them) and incidentally that's one of the ones she made. What an almost amusing coincidence. She seems to be jonesing for that type of mild eroticism that's supposed to be an alternative to more conventional and more hardcore pornography, so all the people who overtly scoff at porn, can also live out their suppressed sexual fantasies through moving images on their screens. It's all hogwash, if you ask me.
Weirdly, I had totally forgotten that he finds out Elizabeth actually snuffed it. Also weirdly, she is buried in Paris straight away, despite being a native New Yorker. Apparently her family didn't give a fuck. 
Summing this movie up really isn't easy.... It's pretty shit. Oh would you look at that, seems like I managed to sum it up nicely anyway. I'll expand a little and say, that it just felt dragged out. What could've been overcome in the duration of one Red Shoe Diary episode, was fledged out into 105 sensual minutes that did not come off as hot or sensual in any way whatsoever. They came off as forced, dull and devoid of any soul and passion. Not that I really expected something super profound and enticing, but still, when the movie you are making a sequel for isn't even that good, you don't have to aim that high. Still it failed miserably, and another nail was hammered into Rourke's career's coffin. I'm glad he managed to hack his way out of that coffin, because he's cool now. But I don't know if I'm ready to excuse all the shitty flicks he had us watching throughout the 80s and 90s. It just wasn't called for, is what I'm trying to say here, I guess.
This image gets an honorable mention, because it's just completely loco. John looks out of his hotel room, and this horse falls over and is euthanized right there on the street. 

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