There is no doubt that tomorrow I am going to regret this. If you are an 85 year old woman who loves my blog, I profusely apologize. I do not mean to offend you. This is the sort of post I would have written when the site was much smaller and hadn’t had an influx of the professional readers who are interested in finance. If one of the other mods sees it and I’ve said something offensive, take it down. Heck, this is the sort of post if I ever run for Congress will probably end up making the newspapers.
But right now, it’s 5 a.m., I need to go to bed for a couple of hours, and I am sitting here just befuddled about the fact America ever loved this man. He strikes me as a creepy vampire.
Time to rewind.
I was a victim of the generation gap tonight. I stepped into something for which I was neither prepared nor do I ever want to witness again. It was, without a doubt, the absolute worst movie I have seen in my entire 30 years on planet Earth. It was so bad, that it wasn’t even good in a cult classic redeeming sort of way.
[mainbodyad]Here’s the backstory. It’s late – around 3 a.m. I have some work I must finish within the next 48 hours. I’m sitting on the sofa, notebook computer on in front of me, fireplace burning, the rest of the house asleep. I see a movie available to stream. It has Matt Damon, Michael Douglas, Dan Aykroyd, Scott Bakula, Rob Lowe, Paul Reiser, Cheyenne Jackson in it.
I think to myself, “Holy crap. What kind of script deserves everyone from Gordon Gekko and Jason Bourne, a comedy legend, and stars from some of the greatest shows in television history including Quantum Leap, West Wing, Mad About You, and 30 Rock?”
So I start it. It was called Behind the Candelabra. Apparently, it was about an entertainer named Liberace who died when I was barely 4 years old so I never saw him, nor heard much about him except in the occasional passing reference. The only thing I did know thanks to a Wall Street Journal or Fortune article I read several years ago was that this was a guy who was the highest paid entertainer in the entire world between the 1950’s and the 1970’s. He made more than The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Elton John, Journey, ABBA, The Beach Boys, Rod Stewart, Fleetwood Mac, Simon & Garfunkel, etc, and his television ratings included 30 million households at a time when that represented nearly half of the country. To keep up that kind of business acumen for three decades, I figured it would be enjoyable, especially with this kind of cast.
There I am thinking, “Awesome cast. Some film about a guy who made more money than every other entertainer on the planet for three decades running. This will probably be pretty good.”
Within about ten minutes of the film starting, this was me:
Within thirty minutes of the film, this is how I looked:
By the end of the movie, I was repeatedly making this face all alone, in the middle of the night, in the living room:
This has to be the most God-awful travesty of a movie I have ever seen, both in terms of production values and the underlying material. I mean, I get how brilliant Douglas and Damon are for their portrayals but this is not a story that needed to be told. It is neither artistic, nor tragic, nor redeeming. It is just stupidity. Utter and complete stupidity. It’s so bad I want to tell you to watch it to see the stupidity for yourself but I can’t in good conscious recommend you wasting time of your life because you will never get that time back; it will be gone forever.
I am filled with so many questions that I don’t even want answered:
- What kind of near-60 year old man takes up with an underaged 17-year-old boy?
- What kind of narcissistic sicko then hires a plastic surgeon to mutilate said kid’s face so that the kid looked more like him?! We are approaching creepiness levels of “it puts the lotion in the basket, it puts the lotion on its skin”.
- When engaged in a sexual relationship, what kind of person then proceeds to suggest adopting said young man?
- Who goes to nasty shady adult stores and engages in sex acts in seedy booths while your would-be-spouse is vomiting on the floor outside?
- Who lets their dogs crap all over Italian marble and just cleans it up with a paper towel?
- Why isn’t the Quantum Leap guy leaping out of here? He’s supposed to fix bad situations. Leap, damn it! Leap!!! I SAID LEAP!
- How is it humanly possible to have taste so bad? A piano emblazoned on the side of your cars? A swimming pool in the shape of your piano? Interiors that look like the ghost of Louis XVI’s cat rose from the dead and then hacked up a hairball of his rejected room palettes? Random statues that are disproportionate to their overall surroundings? Pro-tip: Slapping gold on something doesn’t make it attractive. Oh, and on that note, what’s up with the jewelry? Why not just cut to the chase, hack a chunk of gold off a giant gold nugget, and duct tape it to your fingers. It would be more efficient and look better than melting a South African Krugerrand into a ring. Talk about tasteless; here, I’ll just pin $100 bills to my breast pocket as a brooch.
- Why are you walking around your house in what look to be 1st century dressing gowns for senile old women?
- Jesus in heaven help me, that dog’s cataracts look like something from The Shining. Burn it. Burn it with fire.
- Why are you taking drugs from a doctor who can’t move his face or express emotion?
- Wait … you’ve been given all this money and you haven’t saved any of it? Don’t you know the first rule of being a kept man or woman? Be like the squirrel … you store those nuts for winter. It’s not gonna rain forever so you make it count and milk what you can while you still got it.
- Why were shirt lapels so large in the 1970’s and 1980’s? You could have hidden a shiv in there.
- Maybe it’s because I was a music major, have performed in Lincoln Center, and studied with some of the greatest classical music teachers in the world, but why is this piano technique utter crap? It’s all fluff. It’s smoke and mirrors that the common person wouldn’t even notice; mindless runs built over simple chords with no substance. I mean, the man is dumbing down Chopin because he can’t properly play some of the parts!
- Driving a car on stage in an enclosed space? That’s dangerous. Though, this is Vegas and people are smoking in the same enclosed space. They’re all screwed, anyway.
- “Our relationship is going so well we should sleep with other people.” The late 70’s really were a different time. Why be together in the first place?
- This guy is seriously such a caricature he’s offensive. He’s like a walking, talking gay version of the black Mammy stereotype. Shouldn’t GLAAD or someone been pissed about this?
- Even with the feathered hair, facial implants, and weird makeup, I see you Jason Bourne … you could pick up a fork and kill everyone in that room. You’re plotting something. I recommend blowing up that monstrosity of a house, first. I should shoot a dart across the room at your neck to test your reflexes. You can’t hide.
- Why is Dan Aykroyd having his character move like he is autistic? Those glasses are the size of SPACESHIPS.
- Wait … wait … wait … dude leaves for, like 24 hours, now that you’ve been together for 4 years and you’re already losing control and seducing some stage hand and bringing him into your home? What?! You’re as bad as Don Draper, bedding secretaries and waitresses every thirty minutes! And there is more dog s**t. You just walked past it like it isn’t even a thing! (The below image conveys me facial expression at this point).
- Dear. God. In. Heaven. This has to be the worst funeral scene I’ve ever witnessed in any medium – film, television, radio, or stage. Yes, let’s cut to heavenly montage. This director needs to be fired.
- (Looks up IMDB rating) … How does this movie have 7.0 stars? What am I missing? What is happening? Why am I here? Maybe these are ironic votes. Or maybe there was a scene with Neil Patrick Harris I missed. I think it’s a rule, if he’s in anything, it automatically gets 5 bonus stars. It’s a thing.
- (Looks up YouTube videos … finds last public appearance on Oprah Winfrey Show December 25th, 1986.) Oh man, Oprah was much lower budget back then. Look at the hair on the audience. Wait … wait … what? 25 minutes in, you’re talking about how much you love sexin’ up the ladies? Young ladies? Old ladies? Dude, you probably had a hooker orgy with a bunch of male teenagers in the car before you came into the studio and the last vagina you touched was when you came out of your mother. Nobody believes you want to snuggle the snatch. Are people this stupid!?
- Seriously, this praise for his piano technique is … weird. People think he could have been a classical pianist? Okay. Right. He is nowhere near as technically proficient as men and women such as Kissin or Horowitz or Kartashova. The clarity with which Kartashova hits the middle notes at that speed is something Liberace could never do. Or listen to Dora Deliyska at Bosendorfer Hall. To say Liberace could have been ranked among people like this is like arguing a Ford Mustang is better than an Aston Martin. Kissin could have crushed him at 12 years old. Even in terms of pure keyboard skill, removing dynamics, he’s not as good as people like harpsichordist Elaine Comparone. You have to be a complete neophyte not to be able to spot the differences from across a football field. It’s not a matter of opinion, we’re talking pure technicality here. This doesn’t take away from his accomplishments, but acting like he’s some genius piano player makes these people look like idiots. He’s a showman. It’s an act. He plays above average and that’s it. Why is everyone so enthralled?
- Great, now all I want to do is watch Kissin videos. Look at how good he is. That last piece is called “Rage over a Lost Penny”. This audience should appreciate the topic. And this … one of his best performances ever. That is what a genius sounds like.
- This is what passes for charm? Though, to be fair, he did rise to fame and fortune with a slightly different persona, more homespun and aw-shucks, than the one that he came to embody in his older years. The letcher didn’t come till later.
I would rather watch all installments of the Twilight movie in one sitting than watch this movie again. How were the American people so stupid to fall for this man? Never underestimate taste, I suppose.
All I’m saying is, I don’t get it. I do not understand the Liberace appeal. He seems like a terrible human of mediocre skill who built a brilliant business empire by dazzling grey haired old women and lying about nearly everything – his life, his past, whom he loved, how he spent his time. He was a snake oil salesman only he was the product and he wasn’t real.
Seriously mods, if this is going to get me in trouble, take it down before too many people see it. I’ve lost all objectivity and am so disgusted by this movie and this apparently unstable man that I can’t be rational about it.