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Tucson Weekly Film Clips

AUGUST 16, 1999: 

DICK. Mostly I'm upset that such a great title was wasted on such a lame movie. The premise of two 15-year-old girls who find themselves on the receiving end of information that ultimately implicates Nixon and his staff is clever, but unfortunately any potential for political satire is lost on this flaccid comedy and its sloppy script, which relies too heavily on dialogue and a random barrage of all-things-'70s. The protagonists, Arlene (Michelle Williams) and Betsy (Kirsten Dunst), are so stupid that only coincidence and hot pants can propel them from one scene to the next. The only reprieve comes from some of the lesser characters, such as the ever-wonderful Teri Garr as Arlene's lipstick-stained mother. -- Polly Higgins

THE IRON GIANT. I was devastated to learn that this film was tanking at the box office. Listen up, people: an animated film doesn't have to have the Disney trademark attached to it to be worth watching. In fact, the mouse ears are closer to one of those biohazard signs than to a welcome mat. The Iron Giant is not only a great animated film, it's one of the year's best movies. Based on a short story by former poet laureate of England Ted Hughes, its pedigree ranks high; and it pays off in extremely well-motivated characters and a moving story that has left those few who saw it teary-eyed. If it helps to bring you in, you should know that it's got lots of politically correct themes, like that McCarthyism was bad and that you shouldn't blow up sensitive robots from space because they might want to be your friend. -- James DiGiovanna

MYSTERY MEN. Ben Stiller, Hank Azaria, Janeane Garofalo and Paul Reubens star as a band of makeshift superheroes out to rescue the great Captain Amazing (Greg Kinnear) from the clutches of the doughy Frankenstein Casanova (Geoffrey Rush) in this send-up of the comic-book movie. While it aims at that audience of notoriously virile media consumers who like anything featuring potent men in codpieces and women whose over-inflated breasts form the backing for their personal logo, sadly, it only succeeds intermittently at being funny. -- James DiGiovanna

XIU XIU:THE SENT DOWN GIRL. First-time director Joan Chen strikes a blow for free speech by smuggling in this piece of thinly veiled child pornography. As part of a widespread program implemented during China's zany Cultural Revolution, a young girl name Xiu Xiu (Mo-shu ingenue Lu Lu) is relocated to the countryside and forced to live with a middle-aged castrated cowboy (Toshiro Mifune look-alike Lop Sang). The latter develops a paternal yet unsettling crush on his young tent mate. Tragedy, lewdness and tedium ensue as naive Xiu Xiu becomes the Communist party girl for the local administrative council in a vain attempt to get sent back to the city. Xiu Xiu is a perfect example of the type of vapid art-house film that beret-wearing fuckwits will fawn over because it has subtitles and pretty shots of sunsets. What I found interesting was that this dull movie drew the largest crowd I've ever seen at The Loft, made up mostly of silver-haired senior citizens who wouldn't be caught dead at Adult Expectations renting Nearly Legal Presents: Hot Maoist Jailbait. -- Greg Petix

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