Amy Welborn reports something troubling:
Screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, who chronicled his reversion to Catholicism in Crossbearer: A Memoir of Faith (#253 on my stack….), is setting his sights on Guadalupe:
The writer whose credits include the sexually explicit megabomb “Showgirls” plans an original screenplay on the Virgin of Guadalupe, an icon of the Virgin Mary that supposedly appeared to a Mexican peasant in the 16th century.
Once notorious as a heavy boozer and smoker in Hollywood, Eszterhas overcame his addictive habits and found God after he was diagnosed with throat cancer.
“This is a labor of love for me,” Eszterhas said. “I have been hoping for some time to write a film that is both entertaining and inspiring.”
I am thrilled that Joe Eszterhas has converted to Catholicism. I remember reading somewhere that his memoir was pretty moving. And I’m so happy that I could kill the fatted calf but the farmer at the farm park near our house would probably be pretty ticked so I won’t.
But I still have some reservations about this movie. OK. LOTS OF RESERVATIONS.
It’s not that I don’t believe Eszterhas is a great Catholic. Probably more saintly than me. It’s just that…hmmm…how to say this…uh…oh yeah…his movies stink. And not just a little stink. I mean like diapers after the baby ate grapes and chocolate kind of stink. Like a skunk crawled into a cabinet with a petrified rat in its mouth and died in the house kind of stink.
But Matt he’s one of the most successful screenwriters of recent memory, you might be tempted to say. Yeah, and Dolph Lundgren and Jean Claude Van Damme have earned millions in the movies. So what?
Let’s go over Eszterhas’ highlights/lowlights as of late:
Basic Instinct 2 (2006) – Bomb! Rotten Tomatoes wrote that it
“falls squarely into so-bad-it’s-good territory — or perhaps, so-bad-it’s-still-pretty-bad. Fourteen years after wielding an icepick to memorable effect, trashy crime novelist Catherine Tramell is back to wreck havoc on mesmerized guys — to much diminished returns. Only the sheer ludicrousness of the plot keeps this one from being a total washout.”
Jade (1995) – The LA Times said:
Watching “Jade” is such a hollow experience it’s hard to work up the energy to dismiss it. A movie where the car chases have more personality than the people, its monotone acting and recycled plot make one wonder, not for the first time, how something this tired ever got made.
Showgirls (1995)- One reviewer wrote of Eszterhas:
He writes women not only like he never met one, but as if they were a mythological species that he was too lazy to research. Watching one of Eszterhas’ woman characters is akin to watching a werewolf expert in a horror movie state that “the only way to kill a werewolf is by driving a wooden stake through its heart.”
Sliver (1993) – Film Critic.com wrote:
a creaking and confused plot, a boring gaggle of co-stars, plenty of dimwitted dialogue, and a profoundly flawed conclusion.
Nowhere to Run (1993) – This was a Jean Claude Van Damme movie. ‘Nuff said.
Basic Instinct – Famous for one scene. That’s it. If you think it’s a good movie watch it on television where it’s like 40 minutes long minus the nude scenes. Not a good movie.
Music Box (1989) The NY Times said:
“Nothing in Joe Eszterhas’s overblown script or in Costa-Gavras’s simplistic direction begins to support it. In the end, not even Ms. Lange’s profuse energy and intelligence can redeem the film’s unremitting shallowness and mediocrity.”
Flashdance (1983)Filmcritic.com wrote:
Flashdance is an exercise in Cinderellaesque teenage female wish fulfillment so preposterous that it shoots right over the top and is ultimately richly entertaining in spite of its ridiculousness. All you have to do it get past the main message, which is that finding success in life is not just about your talent. It’s about your talent plus your ability to snag a rich and powerful boyfriend
Now, mind you. It could be that Eszterhas is about to shock the world and is about to write a classic screenplay concerning the story around Our Lady of Guadalupe. It could be. All things are possible with God. But there’s been nothing…and I mean absolutely nothing to indicate this in the past.
He has shown, however, an amazing ability to get movies made. And that’s what worries me.
Update: I actually feel a little bad about being mean about Ezsterhas. I’m worried that he’ll actually read this someday. So I’ll just say we’ll all be praying that he does a great job.