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Tucson Weekly Film Clips

MAY 29, 2000: 

BATTLEFIELD EARTH. Would that I had made this plot up: business school graduates from outer space have conquered the earth, and, after a thousand years of occupation, are planning to kill the few remaining humans. These humans have been reduced to caveman level, but somehow miraculously learn to fly jet fighter planes and use nuclear weapons, all in the course of one week. Battlefield Earth may be the most relentlessly stupid movie of recent memory, and is a testament to the utter badness possible when one man's vanity (producer John Travolta) is allowed to reign supreme. --James DiGiovanna


THE BIG KAHUNA. Kevin Spacey is no doubt one of the finest actors in American cinema, but vanity pieces are unbecoming to anyone, and The Big Kahuna is, indeed, Spacey's vanity piece. His endless monologues get a bit tiring, but Kahuna succeeds at points in spite of this because of the fine performances of Peter Facinelli and Danny DeVito. Set in a single room, Kahuna is a filmed play about three businessmen at different points in their careers. Spacey is the mid-life maniac, living solely for the job. Facinelli is the young man whose dedication to Jesus outweighs his dedication to his work, and DeVito is the older man who's come to realize the hollowness of his profession. The best bit by far is DeVito's final monologue, where he equates religion and salesmanship, and pleads for something beyond either of them. You'll have to love very talky movies to enjoy Kahuna, but the whole enterprise becomes worthwhile in the final moments, when DeVito, who evades his tendency to be a scenery chewer, gives the performance of his life. --James DiGiovanna


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