The Good

The Bad

This movie made about 6 cents at eh box office and to be honest I didn't go

and see it either. The fact that it played for a weekend may have had

something to do with, but what can I say? As much as I sometimes like to

try, I just can't see everything. Granted, an Al Pacino movie isn't just

ANYTHING, but please, this movie really wasn't promoted for some reason.

After watching it, I have to ask, WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING?!?!

This film is a whirlwind. To those of you that love to see AL PACINO do his

thing, and you can count me among the many, then this is your film. From to

bottom it is return to Pacino's comic genius and understated performances of

the 80s. If you liked him in AUTHOR AUTHOR, and I most certainly did(I even

saw that film in the theater 2 times and I was 7!!!) then stop what you are

doing, run out to your local video store and rent SIMONE. This film is chock

full of nuggets and sound bytes, but the real joy my friends is just seeing

Pacino be Pacino.

The plot is simple. Al plays a director who loses his leading lady, rather

then replace her, he creates a brand new one and that is Director Andrew

Niccol's genius lies. This film is a social satire. A send up of everything

that we hold near and dear, but it doesn't do it like a Noam Chomsky book,

it treats the audience with the respect and intelligence that it knows it

has and it does it blissfully.

Why are we attracted to stars? How do we know what is real and what is

staged? What would be the big deal if lets say Jennifer Anniston were fake?

In fact, why is a preprogrammed Star who gives all the "right" answers to

the press taken more seriously then one who is a fabrication? This movie is

one to get you thinking. But, not at the expense of this films entertainment

value. It never stops to analyze itself. It is like a jazz song. This film

is a riff on an idea that has probably crossed many peoples mind at some

point.

In fact, this film harkens back to the days of none other then MAX HEADROOM.

Where did that guy go? The forefather of all of this cyberstuff, he is the

Grandfather of these films. In fact, SIMONE is even more poignant now that

we have such freakish characters as the REALIENS roaming around claiming

that they have cloned babies and the like. This film begs the question, why

do care so much about these people? What makes this news? And it offers no

easy answer.

My guess is that it all goes back to Al Pacino's character just wanting to

believe in something. Just wanting to keep something going. That is what

this film offers.

The supporting cast of JAY MOHR, KATHERINE KEENER and RACHEL ROBERTS as

SIMONE herself is outstanding. It is sad to me that our market of films is

glutted with product that even a film with all of this talent, with all of

this moxie, is overlooked. If this is the case with THESE people, what does

that say about others who make films that are equally as good but they lack

star wattage? Again, this goes back to the question of SIMONE and where we

as a society place our values. Now, I am not one to say that we are on the

wrong track, because to each their own and however you want to enjoy

yourself, bless you and do what you want, but this movie has really stuck in

my head because it's not something people wouldn't want to see or discuss.

And it doesn't seem like it was given a chance. Amovie like this needs to

have mystery behind it to make the ticket buying put their good money on the

table, you know what I mean? And unfortunately, even an astute genius like

myself stayed away because this film seemed about as useful to me as a

rattlesnake at a revival meeting.

I truly hope that Andrew Niccol continues on this path. I will admit to

being not the biggest fan of THE TRUMAN SHOW, but now that I see more of

Niccol's oeuvre, I understand the type films he wants to make. You are

looking at someone who I think is doing his darndest to merge art and

commerce and thankfully he can attach bankable talent who get his projects

rolling. Having a name like Pacino or Jim Carrey around certainly makes the

funding issue much easier. It's just too bad that this film seems to have

been made and then dumped by the very people who could've given it to the

world. And, it's not like Jonathan Demme's BELOVED where it was time for

America to take it's medicine, this film was an honest at the cult of

celebrity and how we create and kill the very things we revere.

Also, of note is the character that PRUITT TAYLOR VINCE plays. Being one of

America's best character actors, this man has an amazing ability to sink

into role after role without the slightest provocation or mugging that some

former characters(whose names shall remain off this list) often do. This is

definitely one of those people that I wish would get more work and I look

forward to seeing what he does next. Having made the leap in the film HEAVY,

he even managed to turn the dreadful Kevin Bacon/Charlize Theron vehicle

TRAPPED into a passable experience.

Enough of the negatives, I truly think that SIMONE is that rare American

film that years from now we will look at and wonder how it got here and why

it wasn't more appreciated when it did.

Features

- Deleted scenes with Direct Access from the film{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}- Cyber Stardom Documentary{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}- SIMONE FX documentary{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}- Teaser Trailer{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}-Theatrical Trailer

DVD-ROM CONTENT

- Script-to-Screen{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}- The Real SIMONE Web sites

Video

The transfer in the widescreen and full screen presentations of the film are superb! I was very surprised at the accurate detail portrayed by the digital presentation. This is a title that New Line Cinema can be proud to have in it's archives.

Audio

The sound track, presented in DolySurround, 6.1 DTS, performed extremly well through my setup. While I don't utilize the 6.1 on my 5.1 system, I could tell that the soundtrack was mixed appropriately for this film majorly talking film.

Package

Final Word

Now this is what the Mush likes to see. Although, this film is hampered by

the fact that there's no Director's Commentary, things like the Deleted

Scenes with Direct Access from the film certainly make up for it. You can

see how the scenes would've played out with the rest of the film and that is

truly a treat. The Stardom and FX documentaries were good and the DVD-ROM

content takes everything just a few steps further. Overall a very well put

together DVD package and one that Mush is glad to call, "part of the

collection".

Simone was released August 23, 2002.