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Tucson Weekly Film Clips

SEPTEMBER 20, 1999: 

LOVE STINKS. Imagine an alternate reality where bad sitcoms are shown in first-run movie theatres instead of being canceled, and that they last for 85 excruciating minutes without the blessed reprieve of a commercial break. Imagine a screenplay so unfunny that, even though it includes the latest office humor, gender clichés, and Shaft parodies, it fails to elicit one laugh from its dumbstruck audience. Imagine a lead actor who delivers his lines in such an odd, stilted manner that no amusement is derived from his wretched quipping. Imagine a novice film critic gouging out his own eyes after just one horrifying glimpse into this strange, terrible universe. -- Greg Petix


STIGMATA. Considering I have the lowest threshold for scary movies of anyone over the age of 12, I'm confident in saying Stigmata is not what you would call a scary movie. It is, nonetheless, horrific: lots of anguished screaming, demon possession, and the creepiest use of a man's voice emitted from a girl's mouth since the launch of that soda commercial featuring that curly-haired Christina kid with the sunglasses. Her "Oh, yeah," still makes my flesh crawl. As for the spine-tingling quotient of Stigmata, our informal polling shows this story of a non-believer (Patricia Arquette) afflicted with the wounds of Christ and the ability to speak and write Aramaic while under demonic possession is especially effective among lapsed Catholics and die-hard fans of the X-Files. Gabriel Byrne plays the rogue organic-chemist-turned-priest; the Fox Mulder of Vatican City, whose proof of supernatural phenomena single-handedly threatens to topple the dark, oppressive power structure of the Catholic Church. Stigmata's premise is far better than the resulting story, which has more holes in it than Jesus himself. Nonetheless, it's one of those movies that's just as interesting to watch as it is to dissect with worthy criticism afterwards. Its success at the box office will no doubt be directly proportional to the worldwide decline in sales of used rosary beads. -- Mari Wadsworth


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