Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Naughty Verhoeven and Naked Bacon

A comment from 3rtfull on that Ken Russell The Devils post got me to thinking about Paul Verhoeven. There's another controversial auteur with a somewhat dedicated critical following who seemed to wear out his welcome with the press in general. They're always willing to be manipulated by the provocateurs for a short while but then, they turn their heads away yawning. Beware Von Trier! This fate could well await you next. We'll be discussing Verhoeven's masterpiece Showgirls this evening for the premiere of the new series "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" -- prepare those posts! -- but let's start a little early with Hollow Man (2000), which hits its 10th anniversary today.


When it came out, I illustrated my dismissive review with this cheeky pic. (I had just started the website. I am always embarrassed about those old reviews.)

At the time I was still totally hurt that Elisabeth Shue couldn't get a solid A list career going in the wake of her Leaving Las Vegas brilliance. I haven't seen Hollow Man since but I remember it being grossly misanthropic and, well, dumb.

Yet in the past ten years I've grown slightly fonder of Verhoeven (largely due to Showgirls -- which I've always loved -- and Black Book, which I was briefly obsessed with.) so I don't entirely trust my pre-Aughts feelings about him. I definitely wasn't ready for him when I first started watching movies. My first Verhoeven was The Fourth Man which I think I saw on VHS in the late 80s and it completely nauseated and upset me.

But maybe Hollow Man isn't worth a second look? Until I realized it was the tenth anniversary today, I hadn't thought of the movie since I saw that travelling Bodies exhibit with friends four or five years ago and thought 'This is just like when Kevin Bacon was naked in that movie. Sounds sexy but is not. Not sexy then. Not sexy now.' But in all fairness to Kevin, the only people who would find that kind of naked Bacon sexy are serial killers, so...

Has anyone of you seen Hollow Man recently? If not, do you have any memories of it at all? Paul Verhoeven just turned 72 a couple of weeks ago and though he has a few pictures in development and Total Recall is being remade, he hasn't made a movie since Black Book hit theaters four years ago.

Elisabeth and Kevin wondering what you'll say about them in the comments. Type!
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20 comments:

JA said...

I watched Hollow Man for the first time only a year or two ago, so I was already enthralled with Verhoeven as I watched it - I've loved him for as long as I can remember - and I can tell you right now that your first impression was correct. It's a stupid boring sloppy movie. I'd recommend pretty much any other PV movie over it.

And I too adore Elisabeth Shue and share your frustration. Although I'm probably much more excited to see her in Piranha 3d than you are, Nat. ;-)

Dan said...

Speaking of naked Kevin Bacon scenes, I have a nightmarish recollection of his dong in a fleeting but altogether disturbing appearance in the film Wild Things. I should be remembering all the lesbian kissing but I always said I had a bad memory (yep - it's literally nasty).

Roark said...

HOLLOW MAN works - barely - as a kind of camp treasure trove of horror cliches gussied up with A-level effects work. Most of the actors seem like they're having fun. But that's about the only level it works on.

Also, tsk tsk, BLACK BOOK was a spring 2007 release in the US, so it has only been three years since we've been Verhoeven free stateside. :)

Kyle said...

Paul Verhoeven, Director of Starship Troopers...which is enough to cause me to avoid just about anything else he directs.

BeRightBack said...

Hollow Man is terrible, as are many of his movies (Jade?), but Starship Troopers is fantastically funny and wonderful. I will brook no disagreement on this.

JA said...

Starship Troopers is one of the sharpest satires and most entertaining hard science-fiction films ever made.

Nat I was gonna email you this but since I felt the need to chime in here in ST's defense, which I will defend to the grave as ten levels of genius, I'll just give it to you here: I just posted my Showgirls post for the series. Was fun!

/3rtfu11 said...

Nathaniel, thank you!

Hallow Man was the first release by Paul Verhoeven to receive an R rating on initial submission to the MPAA. This is the 2nd Verhoeven film I saw theatrically. I had an opportunity to see Total Recall in theaters at age 7 and just when my dad started to honk the horn for me and my older brother to leave a commercial for the movie airs and the scene of the bald woman stating “Get ready for a surprised” all of a sudden scared the shit out of me.

Bia said...

I love watching that Babysitting movie she did. It's so good!

anonymous2 said...

Don't forget early Verhoeven. Turkish Delight and Soldier of Orange. I can imagine Ken Russell was a huge influence.

Anonymous said...

I think Flesh + Blood is a gem of a film. I am surprised it never achieved a cult status...

Mr. Goodbar

Anonymous said...

Elisabeth Shu has the worst hair cut in that film.

cal roth said...

Now THAT is a great director: Cathy Tieppel, The Fouth Man, Spetters, Soldier of Orange... His pre-Hollywood career is sublime.

BUT

His masterpiece is the incredible, marvelous and fantastic Basic Instinct. A+

I love Verhoeven, but I haven't seen Hollow Man.

Jade is not directed by him. The director is Friedkin. I happen to love it, too. Friedkin is so underrated. To Live and To Die in LA belongs to the top 5 of the 80's.

cal roth said...

Anyway, I understand your nausea with The Fourth Man. He is definitely not the kindest director for gay characters. You know, Basic Instinct, The Fourth Man, Spetters... But he is not kind to straight people, too, but I don't care.

His movies are offensive, but that's part of the charm. Btw, I understand the cult Showgirls is gaining, but it looks pale when you see his Dutch movies. Try his OUTRAGEOUS debut, Business is Business.

Dan said...

@Bia - that would be Adventures in Babysitting - cracking 80s classic! ;)

BeRightBack said...

Cal Roth: Sorry, I confused Jade's director because of the Esterhaus connection.

NATHANIEL R said...

Dan & Bia -- yeah, love that movie. The only Chris Columbus movie I love y'all.

BRB -- they do make it hard for people. I remember believing for a time that people actually thought Joe Eszterhaus was the Showgirls auteur.

Beth said...

Adventures in Babysitting was my failsafe backup when I was a babysitter years ago. Kids LOVED it. I think it was the naughiness of Ms. Shue saying "Don't f--- with the babysitter!" in the subway scene.

Anonymous said...

i didnt like hollow man so much cuz im not a big sci FI fan but i like verhoven and his master piece is Basic instinct
entretaning, great cast specilally sharon stone and michael douglas
they had best chemestry iv seen on the big screen.

melisb said...

I was quite obsessed with Verhoeven's work when Hollow Man came out, and wrote a lot about it (not online, sorry). I remember being slightly disappointed by it, but there are a few highlights: the obvious Hitchcock references (Rear Window), excessive use of blood (literally splashing it around - can't have a Verhoeven movie without excess!), and the ending (not with a whimper, but a bang, to misquote the nearly namesake - T.S.Eliot's The Hollow Men). I know it's his least favorite movie and he always talks about how he made it just to be able to use the new special fx.

sz said...

melis b
i read in an interview with pual verhoven
that he wanted to do more movies like basic instinct and showgirls
actually BI is his bigest pride.

He didnt love the sci-FI genre but he was typecasted.

who do you think he is not making anymore movies in hollyood????

he feels disapointed