Deerskin Thong

David Gordon Green‘s Your Highness (Universal, 4.8) was shown to select press last Friday, and I was waiting for hate tweets all weekend…and they never happened. The trailers have made it clear that this medieval stoner comedy is (a) unfunny, (b) loathsome even by stoner-improv standards, and (c) a blend of downmarket sloth and Danny McBride toenail shavings. I really can’t wait to get my hate on for this thing. So who saw it last weekend and suffered involuntary convulsions?

So once again, two years ago Natalie Portman decided on a strategy of making one good film (Black Swan) and then signing up for one contemptible piece-of-shit paycheck movie after another? Is she ever going to be in anything good ever again? Or is it all downhill from here on?

  • CitizenKaned4Life

    He’s still extremely young, but David Gordon Green has already had one of the strangest American filmmaker career arcs in recent memory.

  • zumpano

    You gonna throw DGG under the bus?

    Maybe you’ll be surprised.

    The tweets I saw regarding the film were people saying they couldn’t wait to see it AGAIN.

  • Mr Hooper

    Wells, you need to turn in your critic credentials and crawl in a hole. To build up such a hatred for something you haven’t seen? That’s insane. How can anyone take your opinion seriously even after you’ve seen a movie? I’m not saying Your Highness isn’t bad (in fact it looks terrible), but I’m going into the screening hoping it’s good, that it’ll surprise me. Seriously. You must stop before you’re name is spoken in the same breath as Armond White.

  • DiscoNap

    Natalie Portman has chosen to work with Don Roos, David Gordon Green and Kenneth Branagh. And these were all roles chosen BEFORE she won Best Actress. This commentary is pretty extreme.

  • LexG

    McBride and DGG’s “Eastbound and Down” is like a 12-episode version of a lost Rafelson, Demme or Ashby movie. I’m not saying “Your Highness” will be on par with that, but PERSPECTIVE-wise it’s a crucial, thematically consistent part of the chain separating UNDERTOW/SNOW ANGELS/ALL THE REAL GIRLS from the clueless belching bong-and-fart-fest Jeff’s expecting.

    This meme about Portman’s career choices, not just from Jeff but from half the movie bloggers in town, is entering the Kakihara Derangement Zone. For the umpteenth time I’d point out that just because beloved Natalie Portman made one oh-so-upscale movie about… about… a crazy infantilized ballerina who learns to masturbate in a gloriously GOOFY AND SILLY B-movie that lucked into being a critics’ darling, DOES NOT MEAN SHE IS 1970 JANE FONDA OR JEAN SEABERG OR JULIE CHRISTIE and is going to exclusively commit to a life of prestige pic progressively liberal smart movies that remind Jeff of his beloved Warren Beatty-era heyday.

    Wait, I just rehashed it after all.

  • Eloi Wrath

    Black Swan seems campier and more ridiculous the more time goes on. Fox are running midnight screenings, encouraging people to come dressed as a ballerina and wave props at the screen. Portman was good in it, but now Oscar season is over can we stop pretending it was some masterpiece work of art? It was daft fun.

    And has Portman ever really been in that many good movies? Go through her filmography and you see an awful lot of shit.

  • Eloi Wrath

    And yeah, Lex is right about DGG. Eastbound & Down is tremendous.

  • bluefugue

    >can we stop pretending it was some masterpiece work of art? It was daft fun.

    I’m not sure those need to be mutually exclusive.

    There was a lot of formidable filmmaking going on in that film, great control of tone, gorgeous cinematography. It felt like a movie movie to me, in a way that a certain other Respectable Movie Which Shall Remain Unnamed didn’t.

  • Robert Cashill

    She’s good in HESHER.

  • Eloi Wrath

    bluefugue: Yeah, I can definitely appreciate the craft of the whole thing. Aronofsky undoubtedly elevated it beyond its source material. But at the same time, there’s not much else there.

  • Gabe@ThePlaylist

    Going to support the praise for Eastbound and Down. It really does go to some intriguing dramatic places, and Kenny Powers is a creation both vulgar and tragic. The show is something of an American epic.

    Anyway, yeah, Your Highness. It’s pretty funny. Nothing to write home about, but there were some consistent lowbrow laughs, and normally I roll my eyes at that sort of thing. 85% of the gags hit, and they hit HARD, mostly due to James Franco’s surprising earnestness, and a breakout role from Justin Theroux, who has deserved credit for a long time.

    The fantasy stuff is pretty goofy in that it’s state of the art CGI against hilariously cheap, shoddy sets. Good puppet work too – if “Minotaur with an erection” was on your bucket list, you can cross it off.

    And Natalie actually gets some of the funniest lines, and she totally sells them. She’s quite excellent in this. FYI: she shot this film BEFORE Black Swan.

  • Jim Peacock

    Wells, the ads on your site are contemptible pieces of shit…glass houses and such…

  • LexG

    I have no dog in this fight, but it IS kind of funny how “Jim Peacock” posts here like 60 times a week ONLY to call out Wells, and Jeff absolutely NEVER notices or gives a shit.

  • a_loco

    “can we stop pretending it was some masterpiece work of art? It was daft fun.”

    You know, I put Black Swan at the top of my list for 2010, yet I never pretended the film was more than astounding formal exercise. I even had to defend its overt shallowness from friends that liked the movie less, but thought of it as something much deeper than what it was. I’m not sure if I’d call it “daft fun”, though, I think it’s quite aware of, and happy with, its own stylistic excess.

    Also, count this as another thumbs up for Eastbound & Down. Also, as much as I thought Observe & Report was a masterpiece, the DGG episodes of that show are much better than the Jody Hill ones: Better use of music, more control over the narrative structure, and more weird tonal moments, which would degenerate into more shock humour if controlled by Hill.

  • gautsid

    I saw a screening of this last July (close to fully finished back then; this thing has been in the can for a while).

    The movie went over great with a packed crowd; Franco’s by far the best thing in it, getting just the right tone. Portman shows up around the 2/3 mark, she’s solid enough. I think it’s a slightly less funny version of Pineapple Express.

    I wish more critics/viewers appreciated how difficult it is for a movie to be funny for 90 minutes. There’s an enormous wealth of quality comedies on TV, yet I can only think of a few quality comedy movies the last decade or so.

    What are some out-and-out comedies that Jeff/other viewers will vouch for?

  • austin111

    Before we throw Natalie under the bus, just remember she was great in The Professional, Closer, Garden State, Paris Je t’aime, etc. Being a fine young actress and always getting great work in Hollywood doesn’t always happen, ya know. Not everyone is as fortunate as, say, Kate Winslet, for instance. And she has had movies that weren’t all that even when she’s good.

  • Grady Tripp

    Jumping the gun on the hate machine, Jeff.

    Danny McBride has passion for the comedy in this, and I for one have been waiting for something like this for decades (since I was a little kid).

    What’s wrong with a silly stoner adventure film? For a film critic, you seem a little closed minded.

    Go watch Greenberg again.

  • BobbyLupo

    “This meme about Portman’s career choices, not just from Jeff but from half the movie bloggers in town, is entering the Kakihara Derangement Zone.”

    Lex – it’s all based on something that those people entirely made up a few years ago — that Murphy lost his oscar because of ‘Norbit’. I love to see people refer to this as a fact, because it means that I know with absolutely certainty that nothing they say is informed by anything beyond Internet bullshitting. Ever since Murphy lost, not a year has gone by that at least one of the four winners, a whole lot of bloggers would say they had no chance because of whatever their next movie was, and keep referring back to Murphy as Norbit. The best part was, many of them were so certain that Portman had blown it this year because of ‘Thor’ that they started including her alongside Murphy and looking for *another* one.

  • otolith

    thong? wasn’t it CGI’d out for the preview? her head was allegedly CGI’d onto someone else’s body in Black Swan and she appeared in 3 Star Wars films which were completely CGI’d. We will miss her in Beautiful Girls and The Professional pre-CGI.

  • Jim Peacock

    60 and 300? Cool your hyperbole jets, lapdog.

  • Barnes78

    I just watched (again) “Undertow” on Netflix instant. Yes, one has to wonder what the next phase of DGG’s career will look like. All I can do is scratch my head.

    And yes, “Observe and Report” is a woefully underrated masterpiece that never fails to leave me laughing out loud.

  • hollyman

    This will be another Universal Bomb..

  • Rashad

    Thor looks better than Black Swan.

  • scooterzz

    that screening you mentioned was for ‘junket’ press (your use of ‘select’ makes it sound much more prestigious than it actually was)… and, for the past year, universal has culled its junket list of anyone with a derogatory opinion… it’s what passes for ‘marketing’ at universal these days….

  • taikwan

    Friend saw it – called in randy, raunchy and that Natalie did well in it. Lots of F-bombs but she did think it was hilarious in a crude, Tropic Thunder way.

    Part of her review:

    I had the neck-craning front row seat but it was worth it. It was hilarious and vulgar to the core; didn’t know the medieval folk dropped a lot of “F” bombs during that time. It was a goofy good time in the end and you might see some Star Wars references along with other movie references as well. But the SW ones made me fun!

    Natalie was great in this film too, being a badass with her tiny self. She was fun to watch and her interactions with Danny McBride, who also co-wrote the film, were funny as hell. It’s good to see Natalie branching out in other genres.

    If you can withstand the weed humor, homoerotic,at times vulgar parts – basically if you stand “Pineapple Express”, “Tropic Thunder”, movies like that – then you’ll enjoy “Your Highness”.

    Yeah, “Your Highness is definitely a raunchy romp. Natalie was great, Danny McBride gave the raunchiness its raunch.

  • Kakihara

    austin: Actually, she comes off pretty average to me, but she gets over-praised because the “serious” roles she takes on aren’t very challenging by her standards.

    Lupo: Norbit was even more low-brow than Your Highness, though.

    Barnes: Apparently, he’s remaking Suspiria

    hollyman: No, it’ll make money on home video, at least. Battleship is probably gonna bomb, though.

    Rashad: That’s cus Kat Dennings with glasses is hotter than both Portman and Kunis.

  • LexG

    If I may summon Jeffmcm for a second:

    Shut up, DZ.

  • Dan Revill

    There are far worse things in the world. This looks pretty weird but I’m looking forward to seeing it all the same.

    I do hope that DGG does go back to what he made his name with. George Washington blew me away and I love All the Real Girls something fierce.

  • LexG

    Also Undertow had Little K-Stew in one of her earlier roles.


  • teeem

    everything you said, Jeff. give it a big miss. ewww.

  • sugardingles

    I am sick and tired of Natalie Portman teasing us all with hints of nudity, only for it all to be revealed as a lie….

    I read today that she used a body double for the thong butt scene in this otherwise-worthless movie. Screw Portman. I’m done with her.

    Fool me 26 times, shame on you; fool me 27 times, shame on me.

  • Kakihara

    dingles: She got nude in Darjeeling.

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