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rare female film critic | by maryann johanson

10 years of Flick Filosopher: the most horrible time of the year?

Christmas can be ugly. From my review of Reindeer Games:

While his characters all flounder around for the entire midsection of the film, [Nicholl Fellowship winning screenwriter Ehren] Kruger pads things out with a lot of absurd dialogue that wants to come across as black comedy but can’t seem to manage it, and scenes that wheel around endlessly, repeating the same information umpteen times without even an attempt to liven up the proceedings with wit or charm. There’s not one sympathetic or likable character to be found here — they’re all just pointlessly stupid, pointlessly violent, or both — and they do things and say things that they’d never do or say if they weren’t characters in a movie. One laughably awful scene has Ashley and Gabriel speaking of their relationship in the kind of precise, expository terms they’d never use if Kruger didn’t have an eavesdropping Rudy lurking nearby. Another even more laughably awful scene — which features quite possibly some of the worst dialogue I’ve ever heard in a movie — sends Gabriel off on a bizarre rant about his life as a truck driver, and how this drove him to crime. All those other aspiring Nicholl Fellows must have submitted incoherent ramblings written in crayon on toilet paper if work like this was enough to put Kruger at the top of the heap.

review of Reindeer Games, posted 02.28.00

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