May 11, 2014, - 1:40 am

Wknd Box Office: Neighbors, Fading Gigolo, Finding Vivian Maier

By Debbie Schlussel

I got a terrible virus on my desktop on Friday as I was writing and getting ready to post my movie reviews, and my laptop was running too slow to get the reviews finished and up before the Jewish Sabbath. Sorry for the delay. Nothing good at the movies, except the arthouse movie, anyway. For two out of three new movies, it seems it’s open season on Jews (courtesy of Jews). Again.



* “Neighbors“: Yet another dumb, pointless, disgustingly raunchy movie aimed at teens and 20-somethings with zero class. And it wasn’t even funny. I laughed 3-5 times, and that’s it. Plus, love that they did their best to include an anti-Semitic line in it: “You f–king Jews and your mothers!” That one is uttered by one of the two leads, an Australian woman who is married to a Jewish guy named “Mac” (what Jew is named “Mac”?). His character being a Jew is pointless and never mentioned except to include that stupid line. (When will they do a movie in which there’s a line like, “You f–king Muslims and your honor-killed, beheaded mothers!” ?) I normally hate Seth Rogen, and he maintained his hateworthy streak here. In fact, I hated every single person in this annoying, waste of time movie.

The story: “Mac” and Kelly (Rogen and Rose Byrne), a married couple with a baby, learn that a fraternity bought and moved into the house next door. (When they originally thought a gay couple was moving in, they were gushing and cheering over it.) The couple is worried that the fraternity will be too noisy, so they approach the frat boys (led by Zac Efron and Dave Franco) and ask them to make sure to keep the noise down, then party with the frat boys at their first noisy party and drink and do drugs with them all night.

It’s hard to sympathize with the couple because they are disgusting, filthy, illegal drug using pieces of crap who are no different than the frat boys. Mac smokes pot at work, and he and Kelly have sex in front of their kid and in front of open windows with no curtains. Plus, they are completely immature and idiotic. They leave their baby alone all night in their house while they are partying, drinking, and doing drugs at the frat house. And we are supposed to side with them in their quest to get rid of the frat boys? I didn’t. I thought, “a pox on both your houses.” In fact, I wished somebody would do what I wish someone would have the guts to do to the Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria: drop a bomb on them all. Boom! Wishful thinking on both counts, sadly.

And, like I said, for what is supposed to be a comedy, it’s just not funny. A woman with a penis wrapped around her neck–that’s funny how? Frat boys making molds of their penises for sex toys and the Black guy getting his pubic hair waxed off by the molding process? Funny to you? Only if you’re a warped and very common moron, which many moviegoers basically are now. The movie was just stupid and a complete waste of time. And it didn’t even move fast. It was a long, slow, repetitive slog.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “Fading Gigolo“: This awful Woody Allen-wannabe movie is written and directed by John Turturro, who also stars in the film and is clearly trying to imitate Allen. He even employs Allen as his co-star. But it’s just dumb, long, slow, boring, and pointless, unless the point is to mock Chassidic Jews and make them look like backward idiots. And that seemed to be the point. The movie does have an Allen-esque vibe to it, but it lacks the charm . . . completely.

Turturro is a broke book lover who is also a part-time floral arrangement maker. His close friend, Woody Allen, is a broke used book store owner who can no longer afford to keep his store open. Allen is in an interracial relationship with a Black woman who has several kids. Allen’s dermatologist, Sharon Stone, is a married woman who wants to have a menage-a-trois with her female best friend, Sofia Vergara, and a man. She asks Allen if he knows a man who would be interested. Allen sees a monetary opportunity and recruits Turturro to do the gig for money.

At first Turturro doesn’t want to do it, but with mounting bills he must pay and no solution in sight, he begins and soon realizes he has “the gift.” Allen is also making good money as Turturro’s pimp and is constantly recruiting new customers. One day, he takes the kids of his lover to a Chassidic widow (French actress Vanessa Paradis, Johnny Depp’s ex-girlfriend and the babymama of his kids), whom Allen pays to extract lice from one of the kid’s hair. In the process, he convinces the woman to go to the gigolo but tells her the guy is a massage therapist. It’s completely unrealistic, as the woman is extremely modest, and in real life, such a woman would only go to a masseuse, not a masseur. Soon, Turturro is falling in love with the Chassidic woman, to whom he lies and claims to be Jewish.

A Chassidic neighborhood security guard (Liev Schreiber) is suspicious of where the widow, in whom he has a romantic interest, is going, when she goes for her massages, so he follows her, and soon kidnaps Woody Allen and makes him go to a Jewish religious tribunal (known as a “din Torah”) held by the Chassidim. This would also never happen. They don’t kidnap non-religious Jews and force them to participate in Jewish religious tribunals. Just doesn’t happen.

In any event, soon the woman falls in love with Turturro, but then she ends up with Schreiber. Turturro doesn’t think he wants to be a gigolo anymore and wants to leave town. The end. And the point of the movie was? Other than to separate you from your ten bucks-plus and mock religious Jews, I’m not sure.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “Finding Vivian Maier“: I enjoyed this interesting documentary about a deceased Chicago-area nanny, Vivian Maier, and her undiscovered, incredible photography talent. The movie was made by John Maloof, a Chicago-area real estate agent, hipster, and flea market patron, and Charlie Siskel, nephew of the late movie critic Gene Siskel. I enjoyed not only the story told in the movie, but the way it was shot, the background music, and so on. It’s well done, light, enjoyable, and entertaining.

The movie follows Maloof, who bought a trunk full of negatives of photos at an auction. He begins to develop the photos and sees how incredible they are. He discovers that the pictures were taken by Maier, and he sets out to find out who she was. He learns that Maier was a nanny to wealthy families in the well-to-do Chicago suburbs, including Highland Park and Lake Forest. The movie not only tells the story of how Maloof gets the photos into galleries and public showings, but also the story of Maier and her eccentric habits, behaviors, and pretenses.

While it is interesting, it is also sometimes jarring, such as the story of when one of the children for whom she is caring is hit by a car. Instead of running to see if he is okay, she runs to take photos of the boy lying in the street. She also takes a number of the kids for whom she cares to the most destitute, dangerous Chicago neighborhoods, so she can take her photos.

The film explores Maier’s background–was she French or just pretending?–and interviews the parents who hired her and the kids for whom she cared. We also see photographers and artists commenting on the skill of her photos and videos.

Although the movie is only 83 minutes, at times it does seem a trifle repetitive and would have been fine at just an hour. Still, it’s entertaining and enjoyable enough, and good as documentaries go. Some critics have written that there is too much Maloof in the movie and not enough Vivian Maier, but I say the exact opposite. Maloof is clearly a bright guy with creative sleuthing to quench his curiosity about mysteries. The story of how Maloof found these photos and researched the subject are what I found most interesting. I enjoy doing my own such detective work and would have loved to know more about how he found the people and information that he did about such an obscure, unknown person.

Great for an afternoon or evening away from it all and learning about one of the strange and interesting people that make American strange and interesting and the guy who discovered her posthumously.


Watch the trailer . . .

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21 Responses

“You f–king Muslims and your honor-killed, beheaded mothers!”

-That would actually be funnier than anything in this film. No one at my theatre (mostly WASP moviegoers) laughed at the Jewish line. I heard an “oooooo” from behind me.

Almost every actor in the film is of Jewish heritage to one degree or another (Efron, Franco, Mintz-Plasse, Efron’s likely girlfriend Halston Sage, Ike Barinholtz, and of course Lisa Kudrow). But it seems the only explicitly Jewish character is Rogen yet again.

It is like that upcoming WWII movie Fury, which stars Brad Pitt and no less than four Jews (Jason Isaacs, Jon Bernthal, Logan Lerman, and Shia LaBeouf), but none of their characters are Jewish, and the only Jews are the corpses of concentration camp prisoners who were out on a death march (I’ve read the script).

Bee on May 11, 2014 at 2:02 am

The art house picture does sound like the best one.

Worry01 on May 11, 2014 at 4:33 am

As far as “neighbours” goes – subtract “humour” and it sounds to me like you have a story about parents more concerned with their cool than their kid.
Condom in baby’s mouth – where’s the harm? Get a sense of humour and see how far you can go with it.

Seth Rogen is a chubby lump of lard oinker.

Frankz on May 11, 2014 at 5:56 am

There’s another Vivian Maier movie you should check out. Different but still really great and fascinating!

Terri Poward on May 11, 2014 at 9:14 am

Zac, Mac, anti-semitism, and Sex Week for post-college adolescents. And an actor who is the foremost combination of anti-semitism and sexual depravity.

Little Al on May 11, 2014 at 10:43 am

Vivian Maier is fascinating, though.Exceptional photographic artistic talent. Sad, dark, secretive and introverted with perhaps deep suppressed sexual identity conflicts. Not a knock against her, her artistic expression and the way she managed it in life is only now, posthumously being revealed. very intriguing story.

HK on May 11, 2014 at 11:24 am

Gosh, not surprising that the Seth Rogan movie is targeting the teens with disgusting lowbrow humor and the Woody Allen movie is soft porn.

The Rogan movie trailer made me think of an aging hippie I know who bought a house ONE BLOCK from a major university and has spent the last ten years P.O.d because so many of the houses around him are occupied by college students and frats. He obsesses about the noise and the filth and the raunchy behavior. I repeatedly remind him that if he wants peace and quiet he should move farther away from the university. His response? “But this is prime real estate!!!” Idiot.

MIGirl on May 11, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Congratulations, how did you find him?
    Talking about MIGirl

    Frankz on May 11, 2014 at 6:58 pm

Again, everyone tell your friends to boycott Hollywood and the movie houses until they stop producing anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, anti-Christian, and anti-American movies. Tell 10 people and have them tell ten people, etc.

Jonathan E. Grant on May 11, 2014 at 12:05 pm


    Excellent suggestion.

    Thank you

    Darrell L. Hicks on May 11, 2014 at 2:24 pm

      That’s why I don’t go to movies. Period. Why waste my money giving it to people who run that cesspool called Hollywood?

      BethesdaDog on May 15, 2014 at 4:12 pm

Well, it’s Mother’s Day, Debbie. How is your mom doing?

Davido Ericson on May 11, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Given how so many in the Hollywood community (writers, producers and directors) are generally possessed of a “frat-boy” type mentality anyway, is it surprising such filth as Neighbors is produced? To be sure, it absolutely deserves the rating heaped upon it here . . . oh yeah, and Zac Efron, yet another shining example (sarc alert) from Disney’s High School Musical franchise. (See also, Vanessa Hudgens.)

ConcernedPatriot on May 11, 2014 at 2:32 pm

Thanks DS,

I would not waste any $ going to see and support this trash. We boycotted Hollywood years ago. They lost the art of making good movies. TRASH NOW! Or pushing an agenda from the left.

Fred on May 11, 2014 at 5:55 pm

I’m not so surprised that the self-hating Jew, Woody Allen, would be involved in a movie that trashes observant Jews. I saw the trailer for this and decided I would absolutely not see it. The whole topic is disgusting to begin with and then they have to go further and negatively portray observant Jews. These self-hating Hollywood Jews are like the capos during the Holocaust. They are helping to destroy Judaism in the U.S. and turn off Jews to Judaism. In this way, they are murderers.

halevi on May 11, 2014 at 10:34 pm

“He even employs Allen as his co-star.”

Turturo is a stupid, dago, left-wing, pseudo-intellectual turd. Woody is clearly mocking him by working with him in this and rightfully so.

As much as I’ve come to despise Woody Allen for his personal life, he was and will always be a brilliant filmmaker.

DS_ROCKS! on May 12, 2014 at 3:16 am

Years ago one of my mother-in-law’s neighbors rented their home to a fraternity. The frat rats would party almost every night to 3 AM blaring loud music with drunken kids coming and going. Several of the neighbors went to these frat rats and asked them to turn down the loud music and to stop partying past 11 PM. What did the frat rats do? They turned up the music and made more noise. Finally, the police began visiting and eventually the frat rats were getting cited under the noise ordinances. We suspect the neighbors who rented the home began to get fined too. One day, the music and partying stopped. The frat rats moved out.

Concerned Citizen on May 12, 2014 at 9:04 am

I have no financial interest in what I am about to say. The Riff-Trax guys, who formerly did Mystery Science Theatre 3000, have about 350 short films and full length cinematic turkeys (Birdemic, The Room, etc.) that they riff. These are hilarious films, and the violence and sex is usually much more humorous and silly than appalling.

These are the movies I watch.

Thanks to Debbie, will probably take my kids to see Spiderman II next week when we are on vacation, after my son’s minor ear surgery.

However, given that the usual family date at the movies costs close to $70-$80 for 4 people, there are VERY,VERY few movies I go out to see anymore. When I lived in LA in 1988-1993, I would go frequently out to see the movies, as it was fairly cheap to do a Matinee, and the art films were numerous and fun.

But today it is mostly crap. The one film I have on my “list to see” (when I am not exhausted by call or just wanting to spend time playing with wife and kids) is “Jiro Dreams of Sushi.” Otherwise, not much.

I mean, I can QUOTE lines from dialogue from Casablanca, for example. (Bogie wrote the gin joints line himself, by the way)

“I don’t object to a parasite, just a cut rate one.” “Round up the usual suspects.” “I guess I would despise you, if I ever thought of you.” “Here’s looking at you, kid.”

From “All about Eve”: “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

From “The Maltese Falcon”: “When a Man murders your partner, you have to hunt down who killed him. Not to do so is bad for business.” “This is the stuff that dreams are made of.” “Get the Falcon back anyway you can—but with discretion.”

The most memorable line from modern film of the last 25 years is a flat monitone delivered by a killer robot: “I’ll be back.”

Modern movies don’t realize that movies start with WRITING and ACTING. Dialogue and characters and plot. And even fantasies should have some degree of verisimilitude in most things to lock in the fantastic.

For example, Fargo the TV series spends much time in the upper NW of Minnesota. I have spent much time in Bemidji, MN (TV show), and Brainerd , MInnesota (Movie). AND FARGO! Bemidji has a library and no strip clib. THE place to be on Saturday nights in the winter is the Sanford Center, where Bemidji State’s Beavers play Division one hockey aginst the best in the world.

Occam's Tool on May 14, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    No strip club? Dealbreaker for any town. Essential, just like places of worship, small hospital, library. At least they have plenty of beaver, based on your description.

    (Sorry, DS, just had to do it.)

    BethesdaDog on May 15, 2014 at 4:16 pm

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