Finally it’s Burl! Ha ha, I’m here to review a movie that has a pretty sour reputation, and that’s the thriller picture Last Rites! When I think of this movie, which is never, I think about it as one of those bland big-budget bombs that helped send MGM into a deep pit of debt in the late 80s! Spellbinder is another one of those, and Masquerade, and Taffin and Memories of Me! Not exactly a gallery of winners there, ha ha!
I’ve never been all that interested in priest dramas, I have to confess – I’m not what you’d call a churchgoing fellow, so that might have something to do with it! Or the fact that crises of faith and wrestling with vows of chastity are not things I can connect with directly or in any meaningful way! But no matter – there are plenty of good priest movies! That Alfred Hitchcock one, I Confess, was pretty good, even if it wasn’t one of his very best! And of course there’s The Night of the Iguana, which is sort of a priest movie, even though I used to think it was about a giant iguana!
I guess I’d better get around to reviewing Last Rites! Well, it seems Tom Berenger from Someone To Watch Over Me plays Father Michael, who runs a giant New York church with only the dad from Sixteen Candles to help him! (That is to say, Paul Dooley from Strange Brew!) There’s a popgun murder of a guy who’s just been making sweet love, and the murderess turns out to be Father Michael’s sister, and she’s a mob queen, second only in the Family to their father, Don Something-Or-Other! Meanwhile, the lady who was also engaged in the sweet lovemaking, a Mexican exotic dancer, escapes and goes to seek sanctuary with, of all the padres in all the world, Father Michael! What happens then? You guessed it: priestgasm!
This is a fairly slick production, I suppose, directed with TV blandness by a TV director, but at least photographed attractively by David Watkin, the crazy man who shot one of the most audaciously good-looking movies ever made, Catch-22! But the script! My gosh, it’s like it was written on a series of napkins over a long liquid lunch, and then half the napkins were lost on the drunken stumble home! Ha ha, what was the relationship between the cop and the murdered man? Why so many intimations of incest between Father Michael and his batty sis? (She, incidentally, is played by the mom from Deadly Friend!) Why does everybody end up in Mexico, and who are some of these random guys who show up every now and again? They can’t all be from Sicily! And what about that crazy arbitrary twist? Up is down, down is up! Ha ha!
Anyway, it’s a bit of a mess, as you can probably tell! The exotic Mexican dancer is played by Daphne Zuniga from The Initiation, and she has, as near as I can tell, the worst Spanish accent since Charlton Heston in Touch of Evil, and I don’t think he was even trying to do one in that movie! Also I’m pretty sure the last shot was supposed to give you flashbacks to the last scene in The Godfather, but you probably don’t even have to ask if it succeeds! Ha ha! Altogether this picture is a real daffodil, and I can’t say I recommend it unless you like goofy, slightly seamy big-budget misfires! I award this dreadful movie one half of a perplexing denouement!