Jeff's Reviews

Thoughts on every movie I've ever seen.

The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996)

Directed by Milos Forman

Starring Woody Harrelson, Courtney Love, Edward Norton, Brett Harrelson


Felt like an Oliver Stone movie in that it dealt with historical American values and events. Kind of a sloppy story in that it plays more like a straight-line documentary than an episodic narrative. The beginning segment of Flynt as a kid served no purpose other than exposition of Flynt’s biographical history (as one would expect to find in a documentary). The story could have started very nicely in the strip joint.

In terms of telling the story, the plot is inconsistent. Try to follow the number of times Flynt fires his employees and his lawyer. How’d he get out of jail so quick? And the reappearing assassin was dumb. You saw the assassination coming the first time you saw him peering around a corner at Flynt. And the editing was way too quick. No dramatic pauses when there should have been many. And if that strip video at the end is supposed to be a reminiscent home movie, why is it professionally done? Overall, a badly-made movie. The film makes some good points about civil liberties and human rights, but who cares. It never builds up properly to the point at which I would care what the outcome is going to be.

The “Jesus H. Christ – Publisher” sign and Woody’s “Fuck This Court” T-shirt was pretty funny. And the gravedigger wearing a John Deere cap was hilarious. Nice “Hollywood: were perverts are welcome” comment. That graphic depiction of heroin/morphine injections sure is becoming common in Hollywood, with Pulp Fiction, Trainspotting, and this movie to its credit.

Woody is OK (his old man voice is really good). Love is pretty good too, although she is such a gross person that there is no way she could ever play a different kind of character. In fact, Love was either drugged up for the entire movie (which confirms this theory) or it was a very convincing performance (which disproves this theory and makes a strong argument for an Oscar). Norton was also good, but he was much better on the other side of the law in Primal Fear. He has an acting habit of never making eye contact with any of the other characters, a convincing trait for criminals but a really serious flaw for a lawyer. One of Woody’s employees (I forget his name) had cool eyes.

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